I have done this a hundred times or more, but there is still the tiniest shiver as I step on to the tightrope, a tightening in my throat as I adjust my balance pole. Why do I do it? Because I can, because life tastes sweeter knowing that tomorrow a stumble, a sneeze at the wrong time, may end it.
Right foot, left foot - smile, even though they can't see a smile from down there. Halfway now, and a little wobble - deliberate and controlled, but it will make them gasp.
An itch. Of all the times to have an itch. And between the shoulderblades, just in that spot which would be so difficult to scratch even if I were on solid ground rather than up here carefully keeping my balance.
Raise the right foot, toe pointed out, balance on the left.
The itching is getting worse.
How much further?
Right foot back down, step, raise my left foot slowly, elegantly.
Is there some way I can scratch it? Oh, please, I can't take this itching...
Fumbling the pole...one hand reaching back...what on earth....?
I am losing my footing. I look down, and for a moment I see the faces upturned in horror as I fall towards them.
Then the horror becomes astonishment and wonder, as I soar back up to the roof of the tent, borne up by the beating of my newly sprouted wings.
Crossposted to artspark