Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Fall

I love the fall season… the pumpkin carving, leaf color turning, the hot chocolate drinking, the cooler weather enjoying… but unfortunately that is not what I am referring to in this post.

So I have come to accept that I fall on what appears to be an irregular, but not uncommon basis. My right ankle sometimes decides to mix it up a bit and just takes a break once in a while. I can’t help it, and I am still not sure why... but I usually recover, save face and continue to walk on in pseudo - merry bliss.

Poor Justin used to think something was seriously wrong. We would be walking along (me usually in flipflops or high heels) and I would stagger and hopefully catch myself before I became best friends with the road or sidewalk. He would strongly grab hold of my arm and help me back to standing position, and look me straight in the eye with a worried expression. “What happened? Are you hurt? Let me take a look at it.”

Now, with two years of married life under his belt he helps me up and makes the nonchalant statment, “You all right.” I think it is a mix between the affirmation that his clumsy wife must be all right and perhaps 25% question. He still does the tear check… if I am crying it might be a little more serious. But other than that my staggers and falls go mostly unnoticed... unless I am a bridesmaid in a wedding in front of everyone.

I knew I would have issues. I think it was one of those “the animals get restless before a storm” kind of moments. At the church rehearsal we practiced walking up the stairs. I even made mention to the maid of honor that I would most likely fall up those stairs. I had figured that in the shoes I had selected, the length of my newly tailored dress, and the fact that I would be holding flowers – the odds were in my favor to take a tumble up what seemed like 20 stairs to reach the platform and my predetermined spot. (In reality I think it was only three stairs… but more than enough for me.)

On the day of the actual wedding, I was prepared. I would focus all of my energy, all of my EXISTENCE to make it up those stairs safely. When it was my time, I glided down the aisle by myself (the groomsmen were already up front), lifted my dress slightly and carefully attempted the stairs. I was successful! No falling. I made it to my imaginary x on the floor and the wedding continued without a hitch (with the exception of a merciless fly persistent on getting the best seat of the house – on the groom’s nose.) My friend – the bride- was so beautiful and absolutely glowed through the entire ceremony. I was so happy for her.

Before I knew it, the ceremony was coming to a close. The bride and groom had kissed and were now making their way down the aisle. The maid of honor and the best man moved to the front of the platform to descend the stairs and then it was my turn. Complete with pageant smile, I moved toward the groomsman I was paired with and intertwined my arm with his and attempted to make my way down the steps. I had prepared myself with the possibility of falling UP the stairs… but not taking a dive DOWN them.

The following mili-seconds felt like an eternity.

As soon as I took the step downwards, I knew something was wrong. My ankle decided to play on my team and actually stayed put, but it was my dress that had become an instant restraint as it pulled taught around my knees. To this day, I still do not know if it was the groomsman that had stepped on my dress or if I had been the culprit. What I do know is that I had not factored in final, yet devastating factor – being escorted out of the church meant one arm was in the groomsman’s arm, the other was holding my bouquet leaving my dress and its length to their own will.

As I slow motioned fell, face first down the stairs, many thoughts were racing through my mind. It’s amazing when you know that there is truly nothing you can do in an extremely unfair fight with improper footing and gravity that your mind decides to take off – running in all directions is it tries the final, feeble attempt to escape from the ensuing embarrassment.

These reflections include … “I never thought about falling DOWN the stairs.” “If the guests missed the fact I was falling, these hollow platforms won’t disguise the landing.” “I am pretty sure the video camera man just angled his camera down in my direction.” “I hope I will get a cut of the money if they win Funniest Home Videos.” “Please, strapless dress, don’t fall down.” “Is this what my mom felt like when she fell at her wedding?” “I wish I had placed a bet about falling.” “Kinda wish the groomsman would have held on, falling alone sucks.” “So that’s what it sounds like when 150 people gasp at the same time.” And finally… “Pretty excited about the wedding cake... if I survive the fall AND embarrassment.”

So as I lay, in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs, trying not to make eye contact with the bride’s parents, I push myself up, grab the groomsman’s arm and do the first thing that comes to mind.
I bow.

I have no idea why my brain thought to bow at that minute. I thought I was supposed to be embarrassed, not proud of attempting to stair surf and ending up becoming face to face with one of the flower petals in the aisle.

I received a peppering of nervous laughter, probably glad that I survived the fall without too many war wounds – gravity can be ruthless. I was glad I survived the fall. When all was said and done, I made it through the church doors and was out in the open air and fresh breeze trying to avoid stares and calm my apparently equally embarrassed groomsman who apologized 1,493 times.

And when Justin rejoined me after everyone had left, I asked him if he had seen the fall. No, he had responded. When Katie and Trey made their way down the aisle he had pulled out my phone to check the score of the UK UofL football game. He did however note that when he heard someone fall he leaned over to his friend and whispered, “… and that was probably Jenny. Right?”

So I have come to accept that I fall on what appears to be a regular basis.

And here are some pictures of the wedding….

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