Every night for several years, you’ve hopped onto a trampoline. You’ve jumped and jumped until your heart raced, your body felt weak, and you were exhausted. It’s this ritual, you believe, that allows you to sleep, and you have slept so brilliantly during these years that closing your eyes has become, in itself, a thing of beauty. You feel healed by sleep, both released and energized by the time morning comes.
Now, though, you’ve developed small fractures in both feet. Your knees are unsteady. Your legs shake in waking hours, as overly strained muscles begin to separate from bone. Still you jump, only more slowly, and more aware of the damage being done. You begin to question your methods, and momentarily consider other alternatives, but nothing feels as perfect or reliable as the thing you are most familiar with. Ultimately, you jump so that you can get there – to the place you love – the place that makes you feel wholly alive and beautifully human.
One evening, your trampoline disappears. It is gone, and you cannot afford to replace it. Your body, despite its accumulation of damages, aches for nothing more than the nightly ritual of jump-bounce-twist-turn. Your legs feel as if they’ve taken on a restless, unhappy life of their own. They moan and twitch and rebel beneath you. Your heart, used to taking a nightly pounding, feels eerily still.
You do not sleep.
You begin to dream of horrible things while you are painfully awake.
Your body, you feel, has betrayed you.
You fear you will never sleep again.
You pace the floors, and so much comes to the surface in the dark of night. Bitterness, sadness, fear, anger, apathy. Your mind, overly-full and anxious, turns dark and despairing. In losing the trampoline, everything else you once loved also feels lost to you. You begin to associate your jumping with all the wonderful things you fear are lost forever, creating a black and white list of reasons you must, absolutely must, have your trampoline back. Without it;
you will never sleep again.
You will never again feel right, or whole, or rested.
Unrested, you will never be happy.
Unhappy, there is no reason to live.
The thought of getting back on your trampoline begins to consume you. It’s only the thought of jumping again that brings you close to feeling any sort of happiness. Small fractures and torn ligaments become, in your mind, a smaller and smaller price to pay, and even somewhat meaningless in your list of self-justified consequences.
You need the trampoline.
Your body demands it.
You, or some very important, alive, or sacred part of you, will die without it.
You’re are in more pain when you don’t jump than when you do.
The trampoline becomes everything, and until you have it again, little else seems to matter. You need to tie off the vein, light the pipe, snort the coke, take another pill, binge until you puke, starve yourself into a silhouette, gamble until it’s all gone, sleep with another stranger, drink yourself into oblivion — because nothing else, you are convinced — will ever make you feel as good or as much like your truest self.