Oh right, my para…and that’s when I realized it. I forgot to equip my parachute. I looked back at the skydiving instructor, but all he did was shrug and pull his parachute, disappearing in a flash above me.
I looked down and saw the ground rushing toward me like a rabid dog. The air yowled and my body felt so small and vulnerable. I was so, so screwed.
I closed my eyes and tried to take control of the situation. Tried to slow down time and fill the remaining seconds I had with a montage of life’s greatest moments. My mind sped through random images and faces and tried hone-in on specific ones.
The image of a lake came up. I was standing before it, watching the sun glimmer off of it. And there was a girl. Her name was Penelope and she was the first love of my life. She had long, auburn hair and eyeglasses. We dated for a whole month before she decided that I was too “boring” and “weird.” I opened my eyes and only felt sadness as the earth grew and grew.
I turned back to my mind and away from death, recalling life. This time, I remembered the telegram I received from my mother, informing me of my father’s passing. Well, that’s not what I wanted exactly. Maybe the good times I had with ol’ papa…
Ol’ papa was a great man. A country music star by the name of Harry Gilbert. You may have heard of him. Anyway, the memory that I pulled-up was when, after one of his shows, I decided to sneak back to the green room to surprise him. I opened the door and saw him with another woman on his lap. “Oh. Um. Hi son. Sonny boy.”
“Ummmm. We’ll talk later.” And he shut the door with his foot. Behind the closed door I heard the two of them giggling. Their giggles clung to my ears as I fell through the sky. I felt the tears rolling, quickly evaporating into air.
But as my body was about to smack against the earth, two arms wrapped around me. “DON’T WORRY, I GOT–”
I woke-up in the hospital, my head throbbing. Everything was tied to wires and bleeping machines. “Hello there, daredevil.” The woman rolled over to me in a wheelchair, both of her legs in cast.
“Heyyy…” was all I could say. My mind swayed underneath the fluorescence. “Am I dead?”
“No. Far from it. You just experienced your first skydive.” She smiled as she explained how she managed to save me mere seconds before plunging into the earth. Apparently my head was bashed against the rock on the landing while she shattered her legs.
“So, you ever gonna do it again?”
“Uhhhhh. Maybe…” But the answer was no. Everything was discombobulated, but things were starting to cohere, slowly. Weeks passed before I left the hospital and I remembered the moment before leaping out of that plane. I was thinking about how this was the first genuinely great, exciting moment of my life. And then I plunged into the vast blue, and was filled with excitement that was, of course, short-lived.
So, what’s the takeaway from this tale? Well, that’s the thing…I’m not sure you can take away anything from life. Okay, that’s not true. You obviously can. But it’s all dependent on how you form things. Life is life, and we all seem to sculpt it for our own needs. And maybe one day, that descent can be turned into something that I can be proud of. A poem. A movie. Maybe even a song. Something greater than me and you. I close my eyes and watch my body fall again, and take on a strange kind of peace.