Our house has three floors, with the kitchen and the living room in the middle, all the bed rooms – and my little office – upstairs, and a playroom, and an entrance to the backyard in the basement. Each staircase has 15 steps, so it’s a 30-step run from the basement to my office, when, for example, the phone rings.
A lot of times, I try to run as fast as I can, but always hitting every single step, never taking two, or three, steps at a time, which might actually be faster, but I want to hit every single step, and get a good, fast rhythm: pa-pa-pa-pa.
Of course I’m slower than I used to be, but running up the stairs like that still makes me smile when I look myself in the mirror. It feels like I still kind of have it. My fingers seem to be as quick as before, so that I could still get full speed for javelin throw in “Daley Thompson’s Decathlon.” (If you don’t know who Daley Thompson was, I’m sorry, ask your Dad).
Today; I ran up the stairs, not all the way from the basement, but from the middle floor. Let’s face it, I may still have the quick step, but I just don’t have the stamina to take as many in a row as I used to. Anyway, I had realized that I had forgot my book upstairs, on my night table, so I decided to go and get it.
Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa, 15 steps, and done. Just as I saw the book on my night table, I got a flashback from when I was 12, and would always do a forward roll when getting something from the other side of my parents’ bed.
I also played my one-man shows on their bed, and hit myself in the jaw – all Phantom, or Tex Willer – so that I’d dive and land on the bed. Then I’d throw another punch, until the bad guy stayed down. Or, I’d throw a ball against the wall – sorry, Mom, I knew I wasn’t supposed to – and when it bounced back to me, I’d throw myself like a soccer goalkeeper and make one fantastic save after another.
All that came back to me at the door, when I saw the book. I laughed a little, and then stopped. I wondered if I could still do it. And then I told myself I was just being silly, and started to walk around the bed. Then I turned around and came back to the door, and stared at the book.
Of course I could still do a forward roll. Come on! said the ghost of the past.
But why should I? said the lazy ghost of today.
I pulled up my jeans, I took a couple of quick steps towards the bed, put my hands on the mattress, and threw myself over, making a perfect landing so that my feet hit the floor on the other side of the bed. Just as I was about to take the book, I felt a fist on my jaw, and the hit sent me flying back on the bed.
I grabbed the book, and escaped the situation with a backward roll.
I’ve still got it.