What does Anna decide to do when the circus tent pole is struck by lightning?
In "The Leap," the circus tent pole is struck by lightning during a trapeze performance by the Flying Avalons. Anna, who makes up half of this double act, is in midair when the lightning strikes, but even in this moment, she is able to think quickly and respond appropriately.
Firstly, Anna tears off her blindfold. Secondly, she changes the direction of her body, and this enables Anna to grab hold of a piece of braided metal, instead of plummeting to the ground. Her hands, however, are horribly burned by the red-hot metal which was scorched by the lightning.
Finally, Anna gently lowers herself onto a "sawdust ring," which is just strong enough to take her weight, though parts of it are on fire. She is rescued from the ring, but an "overeager" rescuer accidentally breaks her arm. She is also knocked unconscious by a falling tent buckle.
By reacting quickly to the lightning, Anna is able to save her own life, but neither her husband nor her unborn child are so lucky. Anna spends the next couple of months recovering in a hospital, where she meets and falls in love with a doctor. This ensures that her daughter, the narrator, will be born.
Anna, who is one part of a flying trapeze act, The Flying Avalons, realizes something is wrong when a lightning strike occurs during the finale. During this part of the act, a blindfolded Anna always kisses her partner and husband, Harold Avalon, in mid-air.
However, the tent pole, where the act is featured, is hit by lightning, and the canvas collapses. When the tent loses its hold, Harry falls to the ground. Before this happens though, Anna rips off her blindfold, catches her husband’s ankle, and falls with him. While falling, she also manages to take hold of a guy wire that was seared by the lightning strike. She uses the wire to land safely on the ground.
The wire was so hot that it burns the lines off Anna's hands. However, she has not sustained any other injury. Unfortunately, an overzealous rescuer manages to break Anna’s arm while attempting to pull her from the debris.
Anna's husband dies from the fall and Anna delivers a stillborn daughter one and a half months after the catastrophe.