Being good at something isn’t the same as enjoying it.
The Leap of Faith
Paula takes her stance, a bit hunched. It’s the age maybe.
She rubs the blue mattress beneath with her feet, gathers courage and then looks ahead 30 meters, at the landing point.
Paula has always dreamt of this moment.
At 42, not many attempt the Produnova, the ultimate gymnastics vault – one needs to have courage more than flexibility to perform it. The artistic stunt is notorious for taking lives and finishing careers.
She closes her eyes and exhales. “I can”, she whispers.
There are no retakes in life, unlike movies.
Paula, the Hollywood Superstar, met her gymnastics coach George on the day of registration. She would be playing ‘The Retired Gymnast‘ in her next movie and is adamant to learn gymnastics and not use a body double.
George, greeted her with the handshake and expressed his honest feelings, “I am a B-I-G fan”.
“Same here”, Paula returned the feelings, and told him how she had always wished to meet George, the 2000 Sydney Olympian.
She fills her lungs to the maximum and sprints forward like a cheetah.
‘Paula, the Superstar’ had become a rage after she bagged her second academy award.
She always prepared for her roles.
This time, however, was different. She was more keen on the preparation part. This was her childhood dream – to fly like a gymnast.
“This must be another fun thing for you, huh?” George once asked her after training session.
“No! This is the most serious I have ever been George. As a kid I imitated the gymnasts who appeared on TV. Every jump, every move, every flip – I wanted to fly like you folks George! I wanted to be like you!” Paula replied.
“Whaaa..! Are you kidding me? You are an epitome of success Paula, and look at me, my success story is about a defeat – a silver medal is always a curse. You are a gifted actor!”, George said in disbelief.
“Being ‘good’ at something, is different and far from ‘enjoying’ it. And I guess success manipulates people in multiple ways. It is like a mountain that gives pleasure while you are scaling it and sucks life out of you as you descend.”, Paula sounded hurt and continued, “You know why I signed up for this film. Because I was not born to be an actor, I was born to fly. And finally I have a shot at it.”
Running with all her might, her toes leave the ground as she leaps in the air, tossing like a coin, gliding like a seagull. Her body swerves with momentum, as does her soul and a tear escapes from the corner of her eye. Her joy knows no bounds.