The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, June 07, 2007

No More Cirque du Soleil


By Antonios Maltezos


I was playing the Cirque du Soleil game with my youngest the other day, balancing her on my feet as I lay on the floor. It's a great game for both of us -- calisthenics for me, and a confidence builder for her.

“Let go of my hands,” I said.

“I can’t,” she answered back, scared but giggling, giving me the go ahead to insist, telling me she trusted I wouldn't let her fall from so high up.

“Yes you can,” I said. “Come on, baby. You can do it. YOU CAN FLY!”

She let go of my hands and soared, just like a bird. My mother, who was visiting, came into the livingroom to see what all the fun and laughter was about.

“Oh, my God!” she screamed. “The baby. The baby.”

She rushed us, throwing my balance way off so I had to snatch my daughter by the wingtips, right out of the clouds. I lowered her down and got up to confront my mom.

I was pissed. “What the hell, ma? I know what I’m doing. We’ve played this game before.”

“Ya,” she said, “just like you uncle Bobby. You remember?”

I did. I do remember. He kept tossing me up in the air, and catching me on his shoulders. I was frightened and wanted him to stop. Eventually, I landed on the hard floor behind him, a crumpled mess at his heels because he'd wanted to show everyone he had a way with kids, and I'd ruined it by being a chicken instead of an eagle.

She looked at me funny. And then I looked at her funny.

“How old was I?”

“Three.”

Forty years ago.

“I remember,” I said.

“Mmm.”

“You know why I remember, ma?” I was just realizing myself.

“You had a shock,” she said.

That’s right. I'd been traumatized. Physically, I'd been okay, but when I'd looked up at his eyes expecting to see some remorse, all I'd gotten was him trying to laugh it off because he'd been more concerned with how stupid and awkward he'd appeared dropping his nephew from so high up. That's what hurt like hell. I’ll never forget it. I can still hear my mom berating him.

“I was only three, huh?”

“Yup, you had a shock.”

“Okay, ma,” I said. “No more Cirque du Soleil.” We'll find another, safer game to play. She’s carried that memory of me falling on my head long enough, I think, poor woman.

8 Comments:

Blogger Anne C. said...

I think I caught you editing in the middle of the night. (Montrealers don't sleep, I guess.) The other pic was awesome too.

I love stories about your mom.

Thu Jun 07, 10:06:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Such a fine balance in life. Great post.

Thu Jun 07, 05:19:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

I had so many fears of my husband dropping my kids when he was 'goofing around' with them. I merely tensed and kept myself ready to catch them, or I quietly told him to move to softer ground.

No brain damage yet! I remember my cousin falling from porch roofs on his head -- one time too many. He was never 'right' after that.

My mom said my dad used to hold us up by the feet when we were babies, and we'd straighten like rods and he'd hold us high over his head. Talk about trust, huh?

Thu Jun 07, 05:37:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Thank you, Anne, Steve.

Thu Jun 07, 05:38:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

chumplet!

Thu Jun 07, 05:39:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

She's a cutey, Tony. Easy does it!

Thu Jun 07, 11:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

My kids have an uncle like that - I had to give him shit last time he came over :) Guess I'm getting old.....

Wed Jun 13, 10:21:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe you dropped me dad...It brought me to tears.

Tue Sep 02, 07:49:00 pm GMT-4  

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