Falling Objects

My hands shake

I’ve always been
A nervous man
Since I was a
Nervous child
And consequently
I drop stuff

Nervously fumbling
With things in my hand
Then helplessly watching them
Crash to the ground

Objects in my grasp
Were only
Temporarily there
Literally slipping
Through my fingers

But I noticed something
Something interesting
As they dropped
Time would slow
As they fell
Time would crawl
The more fragile the item
The slower the passing of time

So presumably I had all the time in the world
Theoretically I could catch an item before it hit the ground
Instead of watching slack-jawed In horror

As it broke in slow-motion

I began to practice
Not on purpose of course
But I drop a lot of stuff
And got a lot of practice

Try to catch it
Try to stop it
Before it lands
Before it breaks

I began by moving my foot underneath the object
To break its fall
Or even kick it into the air
But depending on the object this was a momentary reprieve from destruction
Or worse

Very painful to my toes
If the thing were sharp or heavy

Then I started trying to immediately squat to the floor once I dropped something
A deep knee bend as soon as the item left my hand
Falling faster than the object and beating it to the floor

I began to save things
Snatching them from the inevitable collision

And then I got good
I got confident
Instead of fumbling
with the egg
Or the glass
Or the gadget
I would let it go
And catch it out of the air.

Through the years I got quicker
And quicker
To the point where
I could catch something out of the air
Milliseconds
After I’d dropped it

But age has slowed my reflexes
And has not calmed my nerves
And my knees
They don’t bend that deep
That fast
And my saving rate has taken a sharp decline
So once again objects in my grasp are only temporarily there

She once said to me
“We don’t own things.
We keep them safe for a short time

And then they are gone.”
But she may have just been justifying the fact

That she was robbing me blind
Taking little things from me
Like gravity
Snatches things from my hands

But when I was good
When I was fast
When it would drop
When I would save it
To the average observer
It looked as if
It had never left my hand

“What was that?”
“I dropped it. Then I caught it.”
“That was fast.”

Gravity never stood a chance.

– Mel

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