Voices clamored for attention, pushing the small, dark boy toward the makeshift trampoline. Estev had contrived his brainchild from a collection of rubber from spare tires, young wood, and some metal springs he had saved up for, then, after a month’s worth of work, bought from the ancient church-man from down the road.
The children screamed excitedly, grabbing almost desperately at his feet.
Estev’s emotions were quiet, as always. Cold, empty thoughts raced through his mind, hindered only by the occasional sharp pain in his right leg. It was better than it had ever been, and the wheelchair Estev had built for the twisted, broken leg had been taken apart and used for other creations. Almost a year had passed since he had built the trampoline, yet it still hadn’t been christened by it’s creator’s tattered shoes.
The voices grew louder and the words came more frequently, rising steadily and quickly. But it would never reach its crescendo of sound.
“I’ll do it,” he said, and the group went quiet. He had always been the one left out, the one who spent days building and earning and saving and working and inventing and dreaming, then watched his friends enjoy the fruits of his labor. It was a shocked silence. Then one of them cheered, and the group erupted into laughter and cries of triumph. He felt a host of cold hands push him forward.
Without second thought, Estev leaped. His legs slammed into the rubber, and the trampoline thrusted him into the cold winter air. A heavy, inescapable weightlessness enveloped him. He turned, his legs moved impossibly slowly, and the excited screams of the boys around him slowly faded into silence, replaced by the whispers of the air.
Thoughts sped through his mind, so much to think, so little time before he returned to the hard earth, to the world that had never accepted him. He no longer knew which way was forward, and he couldn’t know where he would land. It was thrilling, terrifying. Did he truly want to leave this life? This life of restrictions and oppression, and yet of the purest freedom. Did he want to know where he would land?
The boy’s feet slammed into the ground, and he forgot it all. The whispers of the air faded, and the wild screams returned as the boys leaped on their older friend. They pulled him to the ground. They were laughing, he was laughing, and he had lost the thoughts of the cold winter air.