It was a Friday. Everyone was rejoicing and rumbling when the day had finally ended.
But I wasn’t.
I was too excited to feel rejoice and rumble about. I was too focused on the day that lay ahead. Open Gym. Open Gym was a program that a place called Vasi’s, which is a place where tumbling lessons are held, let people use their gym. But, it was only every Saturday. They allow anyone, and by anyone I mean ABSOLUTELY ANYONE, to pay the admission fee, $10, and run around the gym, doing whatever they want. (as long as nothing on their property is damaged in the process) You just have to pay $10. So, when Micah brought it up to me and his other friend, Edward, we were excited and were immediately up to go with him. Tomorrow would be the second day of going to Open Gym. Micah wanted me to do a backflip, but I didn’t want to.
I didn’t like the pressure of doing “cool” things, whether they were easy or hard.
I ran up to Micah and started a conversation, “Hey Micah. I can’t wait to go to Open Gym tomorrow night, it’s going to be amazing! We’ll have so much fun!”
“Yeah it really will. By the way, I think your dad is picking me up from my house, then taking you and me and my brother to Open Gym tomorrow.” He responded.
“No, I’m pretty sure he’s dropping me off at your house and your mom is bringing us. I think he’s picking us up though. But I’m so excited! Can you go on Discord tonight?”
“I’m pretty sure I can. Also, tomorrow you need to try your backflip. You NEED to.”
“Micah, that’s funny. There’s no way I’ll be able to do it, there just isn’t. I can try, but I just won’t.”
“Justin, whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow, and you’re going to do that backflip.”
We walked out of school and went our separate ways, to our buses.
I wasn’t going to do a backflip.
The next day at 6:00 P.M. sharp, my dad brought me to Micah’s house. I couldn’t stay still. There had to have been millions of ants in my pants, right? I still couldn’t sit still, even as we pulled into Micah’s driveway, which seemed to be 1,000 miles long. We FINALLY got to the door, right before I was SURE I was going to die of anticipation.
DING DONG ding dong… The doorbell was loud and shook my hand as I pressed it. Then, the door opened within seconds.
“Hi! Oh, it’s Justin. Why are you here?” It was Micah’s sister, Devi. She’s two grades below me and Micah, but it felt more like four.
“I’m going to open gym with Micah today.” I responded. She stared at me blankly.
She called Micah with an ear-piercing scream, and he responded with another ear-piercing scream. Ouch. He bolted down the stairs at an ungodly speed, like he was Usain Bolt.
“Oh, Devi get away from the door. I don’t need you doing something stupid around Justin.”
She glanced at him like he was the devil. Then she walked away. I hugged my dad goodbye, and I went inside Micah’s house. I forgot how big it had been, and how classy it was, with shoes, clothes, and random toys scattered everywhere. I guess that’s what happens when you have five kids, I thought.
To the garage we went. I had no time to stay and play with him. We had to go to Vasi’s to participate in Open Gym. I panicked for a second, and put my hands on my pockets. I felt a wave of relief, and a slight unevenness in my pocket. I didn’t forget the $10. We gathered into the car, along with Micah’s younger brother, Jaren, and Micah’s mom. The song “Feel It Still” was playing.
It took a good twenty minutes to get there. But as soon as we arrived, we burst out of the car and sprinted for the door. The fresh, toxic fumes of smelly feet and sweaty children filled the air. Great. The smell didn’t bother us though. We gave the man that always sits behind the desk our $10, wrote down our names on the sign-in sheet, and went upstairs to remove our socks and shoes. No wonder it smells so bad, I thought. When we got upstairs, we saw Edward waiting.
“Finally, you guys are here! Let’s go down and play.” Edward spoke with joy.
“Alright. You can go down, give us a second.” Micah told Edward.
Edward jumped down the entire staircase and ran into the gym area, specifically the tumbling area. In the tumbling area there were many features available for use. There were rings on ropes and bars and a foam pit and trampolines and more! I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw it for the first time. That day was so fun. Nothing new was learned, just fun.
I finished taking my socks off. I looked over to Micah and he was towering over me, with his feet being extra bare.
“Sorry… but thanks for waiting,” I said.
He gave a nod of approval.
We also jumped down the entire staircase and ran into the gym area.
“So what do you wanna do first guys?” Micah asked.
“Don’t know,” me and Edward stated.
As soon as we finished our sentence, a wide grin appeared on Micah’s face, and my heart started to pound faster.
“Well, that’s perfect. Maybe you guys can learn how to do a…”
I didn’t want him to say it. I didn’t want to do it. No way.
I whined and complained, but that did nothing. We were going to do one, Edward and I.
I walked over to the pair of trampolines in a glum manner. I was going to fail and break my neck.
“Alright. I will show you how to do a simple backflip on these here trampolines,” Micah explained.
He jumped on the left trampoline a few times, then in a swift motion did a backflip. We were in awe. Seeing this made me want to do one, even more than I already did.
“Ok guys, get on a trampoline.” Micah told us.
I got on the one to the left, while Edward got the one on the right. So, we were just supposed to start. Easy, right? My heart was pounding at an insane speed, beating so hard that it felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. I didn’t like that feeling. I realized that this could only be as good as I make it.
Edward and I started bouncing. We kept throwing ourselves backwards with no luck. This is going to take forever, I thought.
Finally, after twenty minutes or so, Edward was the first one to do a backflip-like motion. He landed on his knees and hands. I saw this, and I did it immediately after him. It wasn’t that hard. Not at all.
“MICAH DID YOU SEE THAT‽” I screamed. Edward was too focused to say anything.
“I did. Keep it up, you’ll get it.”
I still didn’t have that much faith in myself.
We kept at this backflipping nonsense for so long, but I didn’t care. I was going to do it. I had gotten over the fear of going backwards. Now it was just perfecting it. Could I do it? Who knew. Micah seemed to have faith, but I had a little, if not none.
Finally, after many long attempts, I did it. I landed the backflip. The first one between me and Edward. After many years of desiring this simple feat, thinking it was something I could only grasp at the idea of doing. I had done it. Although I landed mine first, Edward did it not long after mine. But the satisfaction of doing something I have wanted to do for so long made me so happy. I conquered my fear. I had finally done it.
“Wow! You guys actually did it! Well, you can do one, but can you do two?” Micah questioned.