My wife and I met while we were in high school. She was the quiet, tough girl that smoked cigarettes, skipped class, and cheated on math tests (not very good I have to say). While I was a scrawny, no ounce of athletic ability ex-band member, who spent two years in 11th grade, quit every job I every owned, and drove a Ford Thunder Bird that was 5 different colors. We were soul mates.
Here we are almost 18 years later. I think back to those days and I’m reminded of all the dumb stuff that I did and said in the name of “Love”. One story that keeps getting told at family functions or randomly in a bar during a bachelor party (this just happened) is the story of “The Rope Swing”.
I have to set the back story first, so hold on. I met Courtney through a friend and immediately though she was hot stuff (we talked like that back then). It was a little while later that I realized that we had the same math class. I sat in the back with the “boys” and she sat up front (I’m still not sure why…). We hit it off immediately. I went over to her house a few times with friends and kept chipping away at her hard exterior. Finally after begging, pleading, calling, midnight knocking on the windows, and three restraining orders…we began dating.
I was introduced to her family and three of her four brothers (the fourth brother was a myth for a while…) and I slowly integrated into their family and their way of life and I liked it. We would all hang out and do stupid stuff together like video-taping our own Blair Witch movies (yeah…I am that old). One day while hanging out with the brothers, they introduced me to….”The Rope Swing” (enter theatrical music here).
Since I was a scrawny, loser at this point in my life, I may have been a little insecure at times. During those times, people tend to copy what happens in the animal kingdom. We stick out our chests and perform rituals or acts to show our love and devotion to our significant other. Well now was my time.
The rope swing sat back in a patch of woods alongside the house. It was wrapped around a tree limb the size of an old Volkswagon and felt sturdy in my hands. There was a small hill that you had to walk backwards up to get set. Then you would grasp the rope, run, and fly. That was suppose to be the plan and I’m pretty sure that was the exact instructions given to me by one of the brothers. My fingers grasp the rope, slightly sweaty, but tight. I walked slowly backwards up the hill until I felt the rope get taut. All eyes were on me, including Courtney’s. I readied myself physically and mentally, then turned to her and said these words. “This is for you Babe!”
Have you ever said something and then immediately regretted it? I’ve said many things over the years that I wish I could snatch out of the air before it reaches someone else’s ears. This was one of those times.
It was also one of those times when Karma comes around and slaps you across the face…HARD.
I turned back to the woods, tightened my grip again, and ran. As I came to the bottom of the hill I jumped, straining to keep hold of the rope. I WAS FLYING! I soared through the air like a sparrow…until…
….let me say, that in this moment, my pride, about to be severely damaged, was at the peak along with my swing. That’s when the rope SNAPPED! My 6’2″, 175 lbs, big head, scrawny body, went flying through the air like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. My eyes and mouth open and my fingers death-gripping the remaining rope.
As I hit the ground I swear I could here the faintest laughter coming from my future wife. Also as I lay on the ground, possibly fatally wounded or internally bleeding, I am pretty sure that I hear her brothers laughing at me too. Yes…YES…They were laughing at my pain and agony. Who does that?
Even though that was the case then, everyone laughs at a different part of this story now.
No one ever wants to know if I was okay. No one cares whether or not I broke anything or maybe lacerated my liver. NOPE. Everyone laughs at the “This is for you Babe” part. It has been almost 18 years since that incident happened and I still can’t escape the stupidity of my pride and insecurities in that moment. I look back and laugh at myself now. I look back on my insecurities and think “What the hell were you thinking? Did you actually think that line would work?”. Courtney and I tell that story to each other every so often when we need a good laugh. Years later I did find out that it was her laughing at me as I flew through the air. I learned over the past 18 years that she laughs at all my pain before helping me up… It’s okay though because she’s still hot stuff.