Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Sadness of Gravity By Thom Goddard

"Darling, do you know the worst part about being fired out of a cannon?"

Rossa Richter took a sip of her pre-prandial sherry and placed a frail hand on my arm.

“It’s the circle of bright blue sky at the end of the barrel, the light at the end of the dark tunnel. It's the knowing that you’ll never stay in that deep blue sky. That you’ll always float back to earth.”

Ms Richter drank to stoke her memory. “It was at the opening of the new Royal Aquarium in London and I was just 14 years old. The “Great Farini” presented me with the dubious honour of being not just the first woman but the first human ever to be shot out of a cannon. With the crowd cheering crazily in anticipation, I lowered myself into the cold, black hole of that cannon, whispered a curt Hail Mary and faced possible death head on.”

Ms Richter drew two fingers like a gun. She pointed her rifled fingers at the cloudless sky. “Even though it was only for the briefest moment, I stood there in the darkness, body rigid and mind focused, for what felt like eternity. And then ‘BANG!’”.

She closed one eye and fired.

“Though my aerial escapade lasted only a few seconds, the thrill of it was intoxicating and I have never felt the same since”.

I looked from her face to the sky as her infant-like grip touched my arm, and felt for the first time the sadness of gravity.

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