I remember the first time I heard about someone falling up the stairs and I thought to myself, “that’s impossible.” It’s a contradiction and just not possible.

And then one day I was returning from lunch at work, with a bag of food in one hand and a full cup of apple juice with ice (one of the few places where you can option in fruit juice instead of soda for the free drink with your combo meal) and I did it. I tripped on a lose piece of edging and I fell UP the stairs.

The contradiction comes from thinking you cannot fall UP. Which may be true. But you can very well fall DOWN while going UP the stairs, in which case your head will (hopefully, unless you find yourself completely tumbling heels over head DOWN the stairs) land higher than where your feet were previously standing and you are in fact, falling UP the stairs.

In any case, it still hurts. I was proud of myself for not spilling apple juice all over the carpeted stairs (do we not all have this holdover from childhood–a fear of spilling things, especially sticky things?). But I dinged my knee on one stair, and, in that way we seem to do when we get older, was later quite stiff in the shoulder from catching myself with my arm before I full on body slammed.

That old saying pride goeth before a fall? It doesn’t return easily after. The first thought always, even before taking stock of what hurts and what doesn’t and what is it you can’t feel anymore, and before patting yourself on the back for catching your drinking before a single drip spilled out, is this:

“Did anyone see me?”

Several years ago I was walking through the pile of crisp fall leaves along my neighbors sidewalk. Unbeknownst to me, the sidewalk was not a smooth path, but rather a series of disjointed rickety-rack cement blocks–kind of like an Escher–where the roots from his (the neighbor’s, not Escher’s) many trees had risen up in rebellion against the pavement.

I timbered straight over like a tall tree without knees to catch its fall. Fortunately just before I face-planted, one of my branches (arms) caught the brunt of my fall and I caught myself.

The first thing I did before assessing the damage was look around, hoping no one had seen.

The street was completely empty.

If a tree falls in an empty city street and no one hears it, did it really happen?

Only if your shoulders really hurt the next day.

[Day 75 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

One thought on “stairs

  1. I do the looking around thing first, too. Before I assess my injuries and before I even steady myself I look to see if I have fallen from grace.

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