As I walked around the island of Fiji, with the hot sun blazing on my skin and the breeze blowing through my hair, I came to the decision. The question I mulled over as I walked, was whether or not to dive into the deep water of the ocean or jump out of a plane into the clear blue sky. In thinking the question over, it had an easy winner. I signed the waiver and my heart began to race. Today is the day that I will be jumping out of a plane 15,000 feet in the air, with a stranger on my back.
We, the brave ones, arrived at the hotel, and walked ahead of everyone as we were ready to put all of our trust into a parachute. My parents, still in the United States, were unaware of the situation. As my friends and I sat on the couch and waited to get prepped for an experience of a lifetime, the stories began rolling. The stories consisted of parachute mishaps, accidents, and tragedies. I couldn’t help but focus on the story about a girl who skydived and the first parachute didn’t open. Although I was not going to change my mind, at this point, I thought it would be a good idea to call my parents and tell them the news. Both of them presented with their jaws wide open and with fear in their eyes, filled with the regret of initially signing the waiver to allow me to go on this trip.
I walked into the preparation room and saw a man, an old man, with a long grey beard calling my name. I said to myself, “this cannot be the person I am putting all of my trust into” and well, it was. The preparation was underwhelming and the thought began to hit me; there was no plan B. Caroline, Marley and I walked over to the car which would lead us to the small plane. It felt as if we were walking over in slow motion, once again, the hot sun blazing on my skin and the breeze blowing through my hair. As I walked, I was surrounded by white noise, smiles and wide eyes of my other friends ready to watch us from the ground. The car door slammed shut and I was back in the reality that I was actually about to do this. “What are your last words?” the old man with my life in his hands said to me. I responded to him, “if I die, I died skydiving in Fiji,” with his reply being…“and I’ll be going down with you”. These were not the most settling of words, but they were the truth.
We stepped into the plane with the propeller spinning and with the reality that there was no going back. This was about to happen, “woah.” I took a breath, sat down, and was then strapped to my so-called skydiving professional. The plane took off and I truly couldn’t turn back. Our nervous laughter increased as we passed the clouds and reached our peak height. Scooting closer and closer to the open door, I was third in line to risk my life. The final scootch of Marley and her instructor resulted in a scream that faded as the distance between her and the plane grew. Next up was Caroline. As the words “I love you” shouted from her mouth her body left the plane’s platform. Then, it was my turn, with my heart beating so fast and my stomach basically empty with nervousness, I was at the edge of the plane with my legs hanging out. Head back, arms crossed, and complete TRUST. With a deep breath in and a deep breath out, I was no longer in the plane. I was free falling for a minute straight and the feeling was like no other. The mixed emotions rapidly spread through my head as I sped down the sky. As I fell, my mouth stretched from side to side with the wind drying it up and controlling it’s every movement. The only thing that crossed my mind was monitoring my breath and the sole feeling of complete freedom. I didn’t even scream. The thought, “I am dying” was repeating through my head as the air was too strong for me to speak and I couldn’t breath. The stories from before were slowly coming back but my expression on the outside was pure silence.
The parachute opened and finally I felt alive with a fast whip upwards. The whole world felt like it was at the touch of my fingertips and we slowly descended. The fast paced landing gave me a rush of “woah, I just did that.” Again, again, again, was my only thought. At 14 years old, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I became someone who never looked back. No deep breath, sun blazing on my skin or wind through my hair, ever felt the same.