October 21, 2012 by Kara Nichols
When I was ten or so, I became obsessed with the idea of having a trampoline in my backyard. It all started when my friend Jamie got one. Having a trampoline was the only thing that was going to make me happy. All of those back flips?? How could that not equal happiness? I had dreams about trampolines, I begged my parents, promised I would use it every day after school, rain or shine. And then the unbelievable happened. I came home from school one day and there it was, a shiny black spider of a Costco miracle, cramping up half of the backyard. I was a smooth talker but I never thought I would get the trampoline.
And then, about four days later, I got bored with it. And for a while the guilt of knowing that the 10 foot wide acrobatic beast was expensive got to me. Every now and then I would go for a “just for looks ” jump. I mean, I really truly thought I wanted a trampoline, I was positive that I would host slumber parties on the damn thing. Maybe even name it Fred.
My mother was not amused. I had been all talk and no action — or in this case all begging and no bouncing. So every morning she would go out there and hop around the edge of it, flailing her arms, claiming that it was her full body work out. Always, always she’d come in saying something like, “Well somebody has to use that thing.” KNIFE INTO MY TEN YEAR OLD HEART!!
I traded in my fickle attraction to the trampoline for some serious business of playing house. I was all set with a perfect pretend husband who was always on his way home from work, with the imaginary dinner baking in the oven, and my dolls lined up on the bed, every one named Crystal, and all drinking orange juice from fake bottles, the kind that has liquid that disappears when you tip it over. That became the good life for me. It was my American dream. It doesn’t matter how many people I know get divorced or are unhappily married, or even my own failed engagement, I still believe in true love. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that my parents are still together happily after forty+ years or that I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. The Unfortunate thing for me is that Costco doesn’t sell husbands. Which is too bad because they have a great return policy.