I couldn’t hear a thing. It might be the fact we are thousands of feet above the air, or that my mind will not shut up with its billion and one things to bother me with. But in a split second decision I ripped the parachute pack from the intructor and threw myself out of the plane circling the drop zone.
The air felt like a constant body-sized bullet passing through me all at once and all the time. The parachute seemed desperate to separate itself from me so I struggled, but in a matter of seconds I had it on. This is it, this is what I was searching for. Utter submission to the earth and all its cruelty. As I hurtled towards it, I caught a glimpse of those struggling to catch up behind me. For once I was in front, for once I led the way, for once I wasn’t the last to be considered.
I was first.
The icy cold embrace of the atmosphere held me tightly as I continued my rapid descent. Should I pull the chord? Would I even feel the impact if I didn’t? Surely I’d hit the ground so hard I’d be dead before I’d know it.
I gripped the chord, regardless of wanting to pull it. I realise that for the first time I hold my own life, my entire life in my hand, completely. In this absolute isolation I was given the space I needed to contemplate my future, or lack of as the case may be. In that moment, as I fell from my old life ready to collide with the new…