If I Fell
Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”If I Fell” was 100% written by Lennon, who said “It’s semiautobiographical, but not consciously” and “that’s my first attempt at a ballad proper.” Note from me: This is my second-favorite Beatles song, as I love the harmonies and think it is a beautiful piece.
The building where most of my high school classes took place was over a hundred years old, and four floors if you counted the basement, which you have to. What we referred to as “the back stairway” was a sort of square spiral that went from the basement all the way up to the third floor, with about an eight-foot open square down through the middle. Centered above the empty space was a five-bulbed chandelier, from which Jonny V. removed the bulbs and dropped them the four floors to the basement, and made the President of the college (the high school was on the grounds of the college and shared several rooms) very, very angry.
I get the dates confused, and I’m not sure if it was my freshman or sophomore year in high school, but my first high school girlfriend had just broken up with me — you’d think that’ be the sort of thing I’d remember more clearly, but I can’t figure it out. Hrm.
Anyway, she started sorta seeing someone else (Jason W., if you’re wondering – I include that here strictly so I can mention to his brother that I mentioned his brother on here) which is why she decided to break up with me. Well, I mean, I’m sure there were other reasons she decided to break up with me which probably also led to her seeing the other guy, but the seeing the other guy was the thing she decided to do right before breaking up with me.
I was new to this whole breaking up thing, and wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do. I figured I probably still needed to go to classes and eat and stuff, but what to do around her? Or him, for that matter? He was an upperclassmen, so I already was beneath him socially, and this just compounded the issue. And, as mentioned, he was my friend’s older brother. Far too complicated for my teenaged brain.
I decided avoidance was the best method, a device I would turn to quite often in the ensuing years, even though it never seemed to work out all that great. If I saw either of them, I would find some place else to be. The high school area was fairly small, so this happened more often than a person would have liked, but oh well.
The snack shop was located in the basement, and it’s where the majority of us high schoolers went for lunch. The snack shop wasn’t very big, but our class of 33 was the biggest that had ever gone through the school at the time, so it worked all right. Like most teenagers are wont to do, we’d stay at lunch until the last possible minute, and then run up the back stairs as fast as possible to the second floor where our classes were. We weren’t supposed to do this, but we did.
I learned somewhere along the way that if I grabbed a corner post as I was sprinting up the stairs, I could keep my speed up while turning, just like in Batman when the Batmobile uses the cable to make the corner. On this particular day, I must have been running particularly late, because I was making good time up the stairs.
I had made one or two turns already when I passed a couple that was meandering slowly upwards. As I passed them, I realized it was them. Now driven to make even better time, I grabbed at the corner post to make the turn and hurry on my way.
I don’t know if I was hurrying to quickly or if I was rattled by my urge to avoid, but I do know what happens when you’re trying to make a corner upstairs at top speed: centrifugal forces do what they were designed to do.
Not only did I fall, I fell spectacularly. I really wish I could have seen it. I fell into the corner across from the post, a good five feet away. I smacked the ground and the wall both. I was in pain, but I needed to get up and out of there, as this had happened not five feet in front of my ex and her new boyfriend. I got up as quickly as I could and continued on my way as fast as I could. I was a floor above them when I heard them start laughing, and I suspect the only reason it took them so long is that they were initially stunned.
I took those stairs at those same speeds many times before then and many times after, and that was the only time that ever happened.