Friday, March 9, 2012

Free Falling

Photo by Gruar Razvan
by Theo LeGree

While walking to introduce myself to the two referees of the fight, I could stop thinking of how I was going to win this battle. Unlike normal referees, these did not wear black and white striped shirts nor did they have a whistle--just a plane, parachute and safety goggles.

The jet engines started signaling the round had just begun, 5,000 feet in the air and increasingly higher, just to jump. The sky seemed so blue that day. No people, at least from what I could see. Birds were no longer visible, just green and blue were below in my vision.  As time passed, I felt my heart fluttering with the rhythm of the jet engines. In no time, I could envision myself free falling, soaring like a bird, and giving that bully the beatdown that he really deserves. This would never be possible if I didn’t get this fear out of my throat and spit it out. 

The pilot yelled out, “It’s about that time!”

How he could be so calm in a situation like this? 

When the door to the jet swung opened, the sun blinded me like a punch in the eye. The sun never appeared that orange before. I stood up to prepare for my jump.  My heart stalled and fell into my stomach and then disintegrated.  

Where did all my courage go? I never felt that bad before. No, wait. I did. Once. I thought back to when I learned how to swim. 

Unexpectedly pushed off the diving board, I struggled to fight the water of the pool. I had been pushed when I wasn’t ready. The fear of being pushed without warning still haunts me today. My personal bully was not just the heights; it was more like falling and not being prepared to save myself. 

Swimming in the water of the pool was something I adjusted to after being pushed, but jumping out a plane at 20,000 feet in the sky—how could I adjust to that? Do I flap my arms like a duck or hold my breath to keep my stomach from coming out my mouth?  Well, whatever it was, I needed to learn it fast!

The pilot yelled out, and then slapped my back: “Boy, get up. You have to jump.” 

As I awoke from my daze, I stood up just to fall back down again.  This time, I was falling through clouds. Staring into the sun, it appeared much darker than before. It no longer hovered over me nor hindered my sight. The sun reached eye level and gave me the hint I needed: 

“Open your parachute and enjoy the view of the green and blue beneath your feet.”

I was flying, or “falling with style,” some would say.  My heart ceased its fluttering, and the atmosphere became colder than I had felt before.  The once hot sweating boy was now a cold flying man—with fear no longer stopping him.


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