Finally in a loud but friendly voice he says something like ‘is difícil’ which is clearly, ‘is that difficult’. I reply with a friendly YES. He looks at me, then he looks at the slackline. I say, do you want to try, he thinks about it for a moment and says again, ‘is difícil’?!
I reply with a YES, and then I say, ‘but you can do it, I’ll hold your hand’. He looks at me like he’s trying to figure out what I’m saying.
He thinks some more and shakes his head no. I say, and gesture to the line, ‘come on, give it a shot’.
- Editors note: I slackline without any shoes or socks on.
She starts taking his shoes off, then looks at my sock-less feet and points down to his own socks. I shake my head no as in, ‘it’s not necessary’, he understand immediately.
Looks at me, without his shoes on, then the rope, and doubts himself again, like he might not actually get on it. So I say again, ‘it’s okay, I’ll hold your hand’. An odd gesture in most scenarios from a man to a man.
So he climbs up on the slackline balancing himself on the tree to help him get up. I reach my hand out, and he quickly grabs it.
Step by step he slowly walks the slackline with my assistance. He has a smile on his face like someone jumping into the ocean for the first time. Excited, unsure but enjoyable.
He says to me again, ‘difícil’. I say, ‘it is but you’re doing a great job’. I have no idea if or what he understands.
He’s actually doing surprisingly well for a first timer. He’s a larger man and the heavier you are the harder it is to balance because the more the slackline moves. And given that he’s a bit older, and likely hasn’t been on one before, he really is doing great.
A few more steps and he’s had enough. He jumps off, looks at me and says in broken English with a friendly smile , ‘thank you very much my friend’.
I reply and he carries on back to his group of friends who are clearly impressed with his work.
I wanted to share that with you because it takes courage to try something new. It’s hard to put yourself out there, ask for help, ask to try something new, create new experience and memories.
Even thought that story or experience may seem insignificant to some. I’ll think about that man every time I see a group of adults standing and watching. And he’ll think about it as well every time he watches a tight rope walker or passes by someone else slacklining.
And I think that alone was worth finding the courage to try something new.