I was completely out of control, but I was attached to one who knew what was going on and who was in control.
The air roared past my ears as we free-fell towards the ground.
My mind strained to remember my instructor’s directions, even though I could no longer hear his voice.
Arch my back, kick my bottom, hands hanging on to my harness chicken wing fashion.
Content that I’d followed instructions, I could enjoy the ride.
He pulled the chute, the free-fall ended far too soon. I wanted it to last forever.
Now he guided my hands into the chute’s handles, asked me if my harness was comfortable. Everything was fine.
He told me he would be loosening the connections that held us. I’d drop a bit lower, so inches would separate our bodies.
Now, here, I felt a glimmer of fear. I knew it would be safe, I knew I’d still be attached. But it wouldn’t be the same. Once he’d lowered me, I wouldn’t be able to feel his presence. Would I be able to make it without that sure sensory feedback reminding me that I was safe?
I would choose to trust, I told myself–and so I did.
I relaxed as the distance grew between us.
I was still safe, still connected, still hearing his voice. He was still guiding the chute.
He asked me if I wanted to do anything fancy–circles, loop-de-loops, or the like. “Or would you rather just hang out?”
It was hard to push the words from my lungs: “I’d rather just hang out.”
“That’s okay,” he told me, “we’ll just hang out.”
And so we did, arms outstretched, hands in the chute’s handles. We hung there, suspended between sky and earth, observing the scenery below as we softly drifted along.
My head started spinning. I willed it to stop. I was enjoying this too much to be sick.
I wanted to see.
I told my instructor that I was getting dizzy. He encouraged me to breathe deeply, said he’d go gently.
I breathed, my eyes taking in everything I saw.
Beside me, Joanna and her instructor were doing crazy moves.
I smiled and breathed and wished I could be flying forever, and never.