I bought myself a ticket to skydive. My mother had a veritable heart attack. My best friend eyed me over her coffee cup and told me that it was not like me. But smiled as she said it.
I didn’t think about it until I was getting in the plane. A hand in, and a small comforting smile from my tandem jumper and I barely realised we were in the air. I felt locked up tight. All of my nerves twanged.
“Ready?” my companion yelled in my ear, and his face seemed strange and alien.
I must have nodded because then we were plummeting. I screamed. I swore. I flailed. Nothing I did changed our trajectory or the wind rushing against my face. Somewhere in those endless minutes I gave myself over to the universe.
My fate had been decided however. The ripchord was pulled and the parachute opened with a snap. We floated, over a little village with a fountain and small stone bridge. Paddocks with bemused cows passed beneath me.
Somewhere, my cries turned into whoops of excitement. As we landed at a run, I found myself face down in the field. As my harness was snapped up, and my legs stopped shaking long enough to let me stand, the adrenaline kicked in. I ran around the paddock like a crazy person, jumping and fist pumping in the air. The guys from the skydiving company just smirked at me – they knew how it made you feel.
Sitting across from my best friend, I explained how light I’d felt, how free. And that I wasn’t afraid of myself anymore.
She looked over at me, and in that wise old voice of hers said, “It’s about damn time.”