AwareNow: Issue 18: The Outside Edition

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Page 42

We were introduced to our jumping partners. I was paired with T, a woman who had been jumping out of planes for many years. She explained how the two of us would be connected, what would happen when we leave the plane, but most importantly, she ensured me that everything would be okay.

As we were standing there, I heard the plane slowly creep up. By this point, I think my heart was in my throat. I wanted to be the first person into the plane so that I could be the first person to jump. T and I filed in and everyone else followed.

Once everyone was inside, the plane engines revved up and we began moving forward. Once on the runway, we accelerated. I felt the front of the plane tilt upward, and next thing you know, we’re airborne.

“Wow, I cannot believe I let Brandon talk me into this. God, just let me live to be able to tell this story.”

The plane continued to ascend higher and higher. After a few minutes, we started to level out and T prompted me to get ready. I slowly crept towards her so we could attach to each other via a harness.

Once we were all set, I prepped my mind for the jump, but we had to wait. Dang! I thought that since I was the first person inside of the plane, I would be the first person to jump. Turns out we had to jump from the same door that we entered, which meant that I wouldn’t be the first, I would be the last. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I waited for 15-20 minutes, listening to the sounds of screams as others jumped from the plane and descended toward earth. It was finally my turn.

“You ready to do this?” T asked.

I wasn’t, but at that point, there was only one way I was going to get to the ground.

T and I shimmied down the small aisle together heading toward the door. I didn’t need her to tell me when we reached it. I heard the plane engine and felt the wind growing stronger. We crept a few inches forward until she was able to grab the door frame.

“Alright, we’re here. Let’s go on my count. When I say three, let’s do it! Ready! One. Two. Three!”

I committed to the jump and we were off. I felt that feeling that you get when you’re on a roller coaster at the top of the hill and it drops. That feeling when your stomach is wondering, what is happening right now? That feeling lasted for a second or two, and from there, it felt as if we were in a Porsche with the top down. The wind smacked me in my face as we plummeted toward the ground. I couldn’t hear a thing. Just a lot of wind.

It seemed like an eternity, but finally the parachute opened, and I felt our momentum slow down. I sighed in relief. T held onto two handles attached to the parachute. She even let me grip the handles and taught me a couple things. We could turn 360 degrees in the air, which was controlled by your hands and how you gripped the handles. She even taught me how to increase speed while descending and how to slow down as well. We floated in the air for about five minutes or so.

T let me know that the ground would be approaching soon. We would need to lift both our legs in the air, kind of like we were created an L shape. I lifted both legs toward the sky, we continued descending, and I could even hear voices below coming closer.