If you jump, where do you think you will land?

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What compels people to jump over things? Seriously. I have been jumping over all sorts of objects for some time now. Sometimes I hurt myself, and sometimes I go unscathed. So this will be a story about jumping.

As I look outside on this cloudy day of February, all I see is snow and bare tree limbs that have been shattered by the winter storms of the arctic Alaska weather. It is 7:00 AM. Do I really need to get out of bed? What is my purpose for today? Do I really have to go to work? Should I call in sick? I mean, the roads are pretty crappy out and not much happens during the morning shift of Skydive Alaska. To my knowledge, no one booked a trip. Occasionally, there is some nut that likes to jump out of planes at 9:00 AM to get frost bite on his face. But who am I am to say different. I have been doing this for years.

I get out of bed, slip my toes into some wool slippers, and throw on the same robe I have owned since I was 17. I must have stopped growing at that age as I am now 34. As my kettle gets hot, I decide to throw on some tunes. I usually do not listen to the radio, but why not. Let’s see what’s on. 105.6 FM. Just about the most random station anyone can find on the radio. First song playing is some reggae band. I like this as I am still pretty dazed from the early morning wake up call by my bloody awful alarm clock. Second song…….metal. Ok sweet. Absolutely opposite to what was just playing, but it got my blood moving. Ok. Now I am awake and jamming. Spirits seem to be high, the sun is coming out, and jmy order of homemade english muffins just arrived from Washington. It’s this Ma & Pa bagel and english muffin shop in Seattle Washington. So damn good. Thicker than your normal muffins. Crisp on the outside and thick and fluffy on the inside. I make 2.

8:30 AM now. I role outside and am hit by the arctic blast, and throw on my helmet, and drive my snowmobile to the office. As I arrive, I hear some sort of tune playing. Cannot make it out at first, but as I walk closer to the door, I recognize it. Why in the world is Kris Kross playing? Ha. I laugh to myself. Best of all, it is his hit “JUMP”. Well, cool, I guess. I walk in, and see a couple of my buddies/co-workers just listening to this song and drinking some coffee. They seem so happy. They are a cheerful bunch of lads, but they seem to be really happy today. I ask why of course.

Tyler says no one called in to make a jump today. I say, why is that good news. We do not get paid and it will be so slow sitting here all day. Chris jumps in before I could speak another word. Dude, boss said we could take the day off, and guess what, that winter storm passed and dumped 4 feet of powder over the ridge. Ok, now I see why they were so happy. We jump on our snowmobiles and head off. I know it is going to be an amazing day because we all clear a 5 foot gap on our first jump.

 

 

Ok everyone. Your turn. See how their day ends. Maybe they have their own parachutes on and decide to to a free fall. Maybe they have the skis or snowboards. Maybe snow giants jump from above and they fight them. Who the heck knows. Thanks alot. Have fun with it.

 

Keith Kralik 

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3 thoughts on “If you jump, where do you think you will land?

  1. We clear a few more small jumps when Tyler stops.
    “Shit, we’ve got to go back.”
    He’s looking at his pager.
    I know, PAGER, but they work out here when cell phones don’t
    “Somebody wants to jump.”

    Everyone grumbles but really I’m not too upset.
    It’s not that I don’t like snowmobiling, hell, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be here,
    but sometimes it’s just like going through the motions.

    It’s either go through the motions and work a day,
    or go through the motions and play around for a day.
    I don’t know.

    It’s probably because I found that journal of art I did WAY back in the day.
    That’s been bugging me and throwing me off lately.

    We head back and sure enough there’s some people who want to jump.
    A guy and a girl.
    I’d bet newly married, since they are both playing around with their rings a lot.
    He’s twirling his around his finger,
    she just keeps looking down at hers and smiling.

    I have to do the paperwork, but Chris and Tyler are going to take them out.
    We rock-paper-scissored for it before we came back.
    Well, sort of rock-paper-scissored for it I suppose.
    We all wear these gloves that are like half mittens and have gloves.
    Just two spaces for fingers, then one for your thumb.
    Permanent spock hands, you know?

    The scissors don’t REALLY look like scissors, but it works.
    I’m happy to not have to take them out, really.

    Paperwork goes fast.
    Turns out just the guy’s gonna do it.
    The girl wants nothing to do with it.
    “His request for the honeymoon, not mine,” she says. “Can I just stay here?”

    “Sure, just hang out in the lobby I guess.”
    Our lobby is seriously three chairs and a small table.
    Chris and Tyler give me this look, like, “Don’t try anything,”
    but really it’s not necessary.

    They probably just thought they had to because this is the first time in maybe forever that a girl would be hanging out in our lobby, but c’mon guys, I’m 34, not early twenties like them. I know how to be around women. And, shocker, you CAN interact with them even if you’re not trying to sleep with them.

    So they go and first she gets a cup of water.
    Then she pulls this little thing out of her pack and opens it up.
    Watercolors? It looks like a set you’d get in school, circles of color waiting for water to come to life.
    She dips the brush in the water, then on the color, and then on the paper,
    and just like that she’s painting.
    Like, REAL LIFE PAINTING.

    I fully intended to just walk away but I was frozen there by the absurdity of it.

    “You ever paint?” she said, looking up at me like it was the most normal thing in the world to be painting in the middle of Alaska.

    “Never.” That’s the truth.
    “Wanna try?” She held out a brush to me.
    Now normally I’d say no, but this whole thing seemed so magical that I kinda wanted to.
    So I took the brush from her hand.

    “I’m not really that good,” she said, swirling her blue into some yellow, “and I don’t paint real life things. I actually just paint a bunch of colors for the background. The real work comes next.”

    So I take her lead and just paint a color.
    Have you ever seen watercolor spread out on paper before?
    It’s fun to watch.
    I laughed.

    She noticed.

    “Have you done any art before? You look like you have.”
    Should I tell her? I decided to.
    “I drew a ton of comics, as a kid.”
    I didn’t say that kid was all the way up to 25.
    I didn’t say that I almost went to school for art.
    I just kept painting.

    “I could tell. Artists, they just look at things differently.”
    She held out the paper and let it dry,
    then pulled one that was already done out, along with a pencil.

    “I really like words more though.”
    She started sketching out some words,
    And I read along as she did.

    “All
    that’s
    left
    to
    do
    is…”

    She smiled up at me and paused dramatically.
    “C’mon!” I said, eager to see what was next.

    “Jump.” she said.

    I laughed.
    “Perfect for a place like this,” I said.

    “Perfect for my life right now,” she said.
    She pulled out a marker and traced the lines of the letters.
    “I’ve been wanting to start my own business for a while now, making art for people.”
    She thickened up some of the lines, which made the font more interesting.
    “But I was too afraid.”

    I kept painting with the blue, swirling it around on the paper,
    thinking of comics.
    When was the last time I had made one?
    Maybe as a joke one day when we were dead.
    Not for a while though.

    “Then I thought, ‘If I want to do this, I have to’ and I just took the jump and started.”
    She picked up the paper, held it away from her to survey her work, and started working on it again.
    “J.T.’s got a good job, so I’m giving myself a year. I thought this would be a good one to start with.”

    Why wasn’t I making comics anymore?
    Cuz it sucked, that’s why.
    Cuz making them reminded me of what I couldn’t be.
    No one goes back to art school at 34.
    Why even bother.

    She finished and smiled.
    “that was easy, I think I’ll make a few more. You want more paper?”

    I shook my head.
    “I think I’m gonna go work on something though,” I mumbled. “You ok here?”

    She looked up at me a little hurt,
    almost like she wanted to ask why I was leaving,
    but she didn’t.

    “Yeah, I’m fine.”

    “Ok, good.”
    Awkward.

    I headed back to the office and pulled some printer paper out and started drawing.

    —————————–

    I stayed there until I heard them come back in, then I folded up the paper carefully.
    “It was SO AWESOME!” I heard J.T. say.
    “I’m glad you loved it,” she said. “I got a lot of work done here.”
    There was a pause.
    she was showing him her work I guess.
    “Looks awesome too. I love us.”

    I can only imagine the types of gaggy faces Chris and Tyler were making.
    “Let’s go look at the footage, see if you want any,” I heard Chris say.
    “I’ll pick up here,” she said.

    They must have left.
    I took my chance.

    “Hey,” she said, smiling.
    There were a lot of small paintings on the table.
    “Hey,” I said, the papers behind my back.

    “So, I made this for you,” I said, and then handed it to her.
    There was really no other way to do it.

    It was just a little comic.
    I drew a picture of them getting married,
    then her starting her own business.
    I drew a little store and everything.
    And then her making a print,
    and putting it up for sale,
    and it selling out.
    And her making more and more.
    And winning awards.

    It was just some line drawings.
    Nothing too big.
    And it probably didn’t even look like her.
    but she loved them.

    “Wow,” she said, “You’re great….thank you…”
    She handed me MY piece of paper,
    which had the quote written on it now.

    “I hope you don’t mind, I figured you were done, and, well, I made it for you.”
    I smiled and took it.
    She looked at the comics again.
    “This is REALLY good,” she said again.
    We heard them finishing up and she tucked them away.
    I did the same with my print.
    Right before they opened the door to come in she whispered:

    “You should do it. Just jump.”

    I don’t remember much of the rest of the day, until I got home.
    I pulled out my old sketchbook,
    pulled up google,
    and typed in, “Best art schools for learning how to draw comics.”

  2. Kathy Ellen. Really a great way to end that story. It actually goes hand in hand with what goes on in my mind from day to day. That was really amazing to read. Thank you again for writing this and taking the time to finish the story. Have a beautiful Easter Sunday.

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