By Rupprecht Mayer
M’s friend was a triple jumper who, as he told it, “tested his limits” in competitive sports. M already knew his limits and wasn’t tempted. Over the years, however, M learned a lot about the triple jump. Especially about the exertion and the pain, the dangers and the fears associated with the particular sequences of movements, specifically the jumps and the first two landings. It seemed to M that only the final phase of a successful jump is pleasurable and worth it: when the jumper, in anticipation of good distance, glides through the air as he prepares to land in the soft sand. On one of his walks in the pine forest, on which his friend almost never accompanied him because of foot and knee problems, M discovered that he could easily simulate this phase of the triple jump on a steep embankment by jumping over the edge and landing a good fifteen feet down the sandy slope. When M suggested to his friend—at the time, titleholder in the event in Central Franconia—that he might derive satisfaction this way, M’s friend understood it as irony and almost broke off their friendship.
Rupprecht Mayer resettled near Salzburg after living some 20 years in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai. He translates Chinese literature (like poems of Gu Cheng, stories of Shen Congwen, brush notes of Qing-scholar Ji Yun) and writes short prose. English versions appeared in AGNI Online, Hobart, Mad Hat, Nano Fiction, Ninth Letter, NWW, Postcard Shorts, Watershed Review and elsewhere. www.chinablaetter.info/rupprechtmayer/