I never liked playing jump rope when I was in school. Jumping rope on my own, counting jumps next to a friend, singing songs I can still recite, that was all fine. I just didn’t like jumping with a group. At recess the line would form and we would wait our turn to jump in while girls at either end twirled the rope in unison.
The rope would slap the cement and I would count 1-2-3 and will myself to jump in but I was always afraid. I winced at the thought of getting hit with the rope or tripping on my way in, bringing the rhythm to a stop. My heart started beating faster as I got to the front of the line, sure the song we were singing would come to a halt with my misstep and all would be quiet for a second because of me, until the rope began again and someone else jumped in place.
I have grown to be a terrible conversationalist with anyone new. I am leery of the back and forth, the questions and answers. There is so much that can go wrong. An unknowing mom could ask me how many children I have or a well-meaning receptionist might wonder aloud if I have twins. I’m afraid of being hit by the asking. I’d rather not stop the rhythm with my answers.
Sometimes it doesn’t sting, I can jump in and answer and say her name and hand over the next question to drown out loud silence but sometimes I am hit before I am ready and I can’t seem to recover. Sometimes I am standing there blinking, the rope ticking in front of me, eyes waiting or already moving past me, willing someone, anyone, to jump in and save us both.
I want carefree answers and laughing at preschool pick up or I want coffee with someone who can mirror my thoughts or maybe I want both.
Maybe I want easy and instead I ended up in line for double-dutch on one foot with my eyes closed…
which isn’t an impossible feat if you find the right people to twirl the rope over your head and under your feet.
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