The International Writers Magazine: Action Life
I have wanted to do this for as long
as I can remember; to feel the exhilaration and the thrill; to
plummet earthwards with a sense of adventure. I am going to soar
as bravely and as gracefully as a bird of prey above the clouds
and feel a sense of freedom that can invigorate and inspire.
However, it is harder
than I imagined to hold on to these thoughts when I am standing in a
blue straightjacket-like ensemble, grinning inanely at the camera being
thrust into my face and really wishing I had gone to the toilet just
one last time. But this is it. I have completed the training, the cloud
has cleared and now I have become acquainted, though perhaps not as
thoroughly as I would have liked, with the person to whom I am to entrust
my life. I am also more than slightly embarrassed at the thought of
being attached in such a way to a man I have only just met, but that
is the nature of a tandem skydive.
Soon we are making our way across the grassy runway, (is that safe?),
to the small white plane with its propellers spinning as wildly as the
butterflies in my stomach. Crammed in to the back, nestling red-faced
between my instructors legs amongst the other pairs, we are climbing
slowly above the clouds. My ears are blocked already; will they explode
on the way down? More inane grinning for the camera. At the price Im
paying for it, Im going to damn well make sure I look like Im
enjoying myself. I am trying to chat jovially to the others over the
noise of the engines with out much success. This is exciting isnt
it? Are you nervous? Have you made sure your shoes are on tightly? What
radius do you think our remains will cover if the parachute doesnt
open? That last one hasnt gone down too well.
The side of the plane is being opened. Below us is just cloud, and a
whole lot of nothing. Im shuffling towards the edge, is it really
my turn already? Im on the edge, cant look down. How am
I going to do this? Ive gone. Rushing air and falling is filling
my being. Ive forgotten how to breathe. What am I supposed to
do again? Oh yes, I remember scream! Oh no, not the cameraman
again, I cant scream and breathe and smile. But this time I cant
help but grin as his face is contorting into wind ravaged shapes. Does
that mean I look like that? Did I leave my stomach on the plane? Is
this ever going to stop?
Weve slowed down, the parachute has opened. My bowels breathe
a slight sigh of relief. But were still a long way up, and we
seem a long way off from where were supposed to land. Is this
supposed to happen? Are we meant to be spiralling erratically downwards?
Is the ground coming up too quick? How do I land again? Am I going to
break my legs?
Solid ground. Im on my knees. Im alive. Im in one
human shaped piece.
That was incredible. Can I do it again?
© Kate Watson October 2005
Kate is a Creative Arts student at the University of Portsmouth
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