Invincible

When you’re young nothing can touch you.  If you think you can do something, you don’t doubt that you can.

I stood on the edge of the roof and looked down.  I knew that I could fall and maybe even die.  But I wasn’t scared.  No I wasn’t even shaky.  I shuffled my feet to the edge so that the toes hung over the emptiness.  That heightened the sense of danger. I didn’t feel fear.  I just felt the rush of excitement at impending doom, at my ability to face it and defy it. Yeah I was invincible.

And the time old man Rabinsky came riding up on his black horse to our house threatening to blow us up with the stick of dynamite in his belt.  I stood him down, and he pulled out that big 44 magnum and put a bullet into the ground six feet away from me so close that the dirt came up and stung my arm.  My knees betrayed me, my voice clogged in my throat, my body froze, but inside all was calm–because I knew I couldn’t die.  I knew that I was invincible.

And that day I rode on the side of the tractor, and my hands rested on the side of the loader.  I heard the sound of the hydraulics and felt the steel scissor down and rest for a microsecond on the back of my fingers.  I pulled them out in a blink of an eye and watched the trap close on empty space.  Yeah, I prided myself on my quickness, and I knew I was invincible.

But when I was grown and my son lay on his bed so sick he couldn’t lift his head, I was scared.  I knew something had changed.  For the fear was in me, and I would never be the same.  I would never be invincible again.