The tightrope walker was right in the middle of the rope now, his feet perfectly aligned and balanced. His arms were extended out into the air. He focused on his feet and the rope, feeling like he was an extension of it.
He ignored the flashbulbs, the quiet murmur from the audience. He ignored the sweat on his palms, the slight thump of his heart as it protested from being put into such a situation.
He took another step. The end was a long way away from where he stood.
His glance caught the scene right below him- what seemed like miles down. His fellow performers looked up at him. The ground crew waited.
And suddenly, he realized, he did not have a net.
His whole body went rigid with shock. Which was, in such a situation, a blessing.
He glanced down at the Ringmaster.
Where the hell is my net??
The Ringmaster looked at him, confused. What net? Since when do you use a net? You’re the star performer just because you never use a net. People come to see you because they know that any performance might be your last.
The tightrope walker swallowed. He felt lightheaded. He did not know if this was a sick joke or if he was dreaming. Why would he say that he never used a net?
Right then and there, he had a mental conversation with his Ringmaster.
The Ringmaster said, you always pretended you had a net to fool your mind into believing it’s safe. And pretty soon you started believing in it.
The tightrope walker reigned in his fears and thought it was best to focus on the walk to the other side without worrying too much about the missing net.
But he couldn’t push the feeling away. He was too scared of falling into the abyss. He knew that he had performed previously only because he knew there was a net below to catch him if he fell. He liked the guarantee that if he went down, it would not be the end.
And now his guarantee, his safety net was gone.
He was all alone, standing on a tightrope, weak and powerless.
The audience watched with bated breath, waiting for him to fall.