An insurance agent called me yesterday. I told her I had no need for insurance for now, that my needs were covered. She insisted I listen to her pitch. I said, alright, let’s hear it. She told me how they have insurance for all sorts of things—even domestic accidents. She started listing the domestic mishaps we only read in the papers: a gas line broke, a heater burst and someone fell down the stairs. The last one made me smile.
I wanted to interrupt her by telling her: but ma’am, I have fallen down the stairs all my life, do you have something for falling in love instead? But it would be untoward; I told her I was not interested still, thanked her and hung up. By then, the little joke had taken all the available space in my head. All I could think about was falling. I’ve never quite had the balance. Someone I once gave my heart to said this lack of balance would be my undoing—in every sense of it. All my attempts at finding it have been in vain.
I’ve fallen down all my life. I’ve fallen down the stairs enough times to know to not run as fast, and yet, I skip steps because I’m always late. I learned to ride a bicycle when I was ten. Most kids, by then, could ride without their hands on the handle. Being late is all I know. As much as I value time, I was always a minute or a year too late. Tardiness was both something I detested and built right into my bones. I’m always running because I’m always late, and in the panic, I fall. It was the only thing I knew to do.
But the other day, when you walked up to me over the patio, before you said a single word, I made my mind against falling. When I looked at you, I wanted to find a surety in my step. I wanted to walk with patience, no rush in my bones, no fear dictating my feet. I did not want to fall for you. I did not want to fall anymore. I wanted to walk with my head held high for as far as we could go.
Without saying a word, in every step I took, I wanted to tell you I’m here; I can keep myself up. I will stumble; it was in my nature to stumble, but for you, I will try not to. You made me want to grab the balance that has eluded me for so long. I wanted to choose to walk with you.