When my friend tried to talk me into skydiving, I always had a well composed excuse of the story of a tortoise and most it always began with a question. “Do you know why tortoises live for a hundred-plus years? Well, perhaps they have a protective shell to make them resistance to any attack,” my friend would always answer.
And I would shout, “Wrong as usual, the reason they live to see a whole century is because they don’t jump off cliffs or planes.” My friendly would laugh uncontrollably saying that was an excuse of a century and always referred to me as a tortoise.
Several months down, he approached me again and this time he volunteered to take me through the whole skydiving process step by step. You see I am that type of person who is afraid of acting against the gravity, so I never wanted to be above the ground, well except when swimming. And again, (before my first time skydiving) if I was asked to choose between skydiving and Wifi, I would go for Wifi.
On this day, John passes by my place and straight we head out, mission skydiving. So, I hop into John’s Volvo and we are off. The next moment, I am being strapped by a skydiving instructor, Donald and that’s when I realize this is the real thing. Soon enough, the nervous feeling start and I am almost pulling away from this skydiving thing. But, the smile and excitement from John’s face makes it look like fun being down there.
I reluctantly sign a form with very sensitive information saying that if something awful happens out there and I die, no one can be held liable. This is the point you remember your parents, brother, sisters, fiancé and children if you happen to have any. All in all, there is no backing down. We get into the plane with my friend John, the pilot, three women and our instructor, Donald.
This is not the first time on a plane so I stay put and relaxed while John is carried away in a conversation with Donald and one of the ladies. The engines kicks real hard and we are on the runway at 160 km/hr. I look down and the view of the beautiful landscape is clear from above. The engine becomes even louder and the wind blows through. John tells me that we are not jumping until we reach 10, 000 ft above the ground. He is excited but I understand why, he has done this four times this will be the fifth and he is more than glad to get his camera on recording mode just to capture the wonderful moment.
We are at 8,000ft now and planet earth looks like green painting with brown patches which apparently happens to be the color of soil. For a moment, I forget what we are here for and just enjoy the beautiful view. At 10,000 ft, everyone gets ready for the main action and this is where I close my eyes confused whether to feel excited or worried. John holds my shoulder and whispers, “Everything will be okay, stay focused and follow my lead.Once we jump, I want you to relax and don’t fight the feeling, take a deep breath and wait until I tap your shoulder where you will raise your hands like you are saying I surrender and fold both legs behind me. Got it.” I surely nodded and said yes.
The ladies goes first, and we follow. The wind quickly sweeps me off and this is where I start freaking out. My heart starts to beat faster, my body starts shaking, my breath starts falling short and I can feel my knees trembling and getting weak. For a moment, I thought about death and looking down, planet earth view is clear. All through, I am twisting in the wind and I feel like my heart is beating its way out of my body. The cruel force of gravity is taking toll on me and I am descending at a terrifying speed. At the moment, the thought of skydiving being fun has no sense to me while I am tumbling down through the sky at 170km/hr.
All this time, I never realized that John was tapping me on the shoulder summoning me to raise my hand. My nerves must have gone off. Anyway, I gained some confidence after feeling John’s tap and raised my hands. The best part was when we stabilized and on my left was one of the ladies and on my right, John was there holding my hand. Now we were slowly moving in circles and floating just like I see in the movies. I had never felt that much excitement in my life. I could now see everyone clearly and we were still dropping down though in an organized manner if I may say so. Never thought I would have that much fun in my lifetime.
Then all over a sudden, one of the ladies disembarks from the circle and activates her chute. For a moment, I felt like I am sick. By now the ground is still far but I can see houses resembling small dots. John starts shouting, “That was great.” He then says, “When we near the ground, activate your chute and ensure you take control to ensure safe landing.” Now I have enough confidence and after 30 seconds, I activate my chute and the tumbling stops. I am nearly landing and the feeling is awesome as I control my chute slowly to ensure a safe landing.
Suddenly, we hit the ground and Bum that was first. Everyone lands safely and sure enough, I will back for such an experience perhaps in a different location.