|An inactive volcano in NZ from our coach bus window.|
I'm the last of our group to take the plunge. It's a very tiny plane, barely big enough for me, the pilot, and Kyle. How is this possibly safe? What am I doing? I mean, I did just watch all of my friends land safely, each with a mile-wide Cheshire grin....but I also recognize that statistically, this lowers the chances that I'll come out alive.
My heart is like dubstep as I take a "seat" in the back of the "plane"....or more accurately, replace "seat" with "3x3 space on the floor" and "plane" with "remote-controlled toy aircraft." Kyle starts buckling himself to my jumpsuit. He's making quirky conversation with me but I'm not really listening. I'm too busy hoping he's as good at multitasking as he claims to be at jumping out of planes. I really don't want him forgetting any buckles due to a little one man comedy routine.
The pilot starts the plane off down the runway and we quickly get off the ground. As we're ascending, they're both talking to me but it doesn't matter--I can barely hear them over the sound of the "plane" and even if I could, I wouldn't understand their thick Kiwi accents and lingo. Great. Now I won't even know I'm dying until I'm already dead because they're probably telling me "Open your parachute when ___________" or "whatever you do, do NOT __________!" or something equally imperative and I'm going to accidentally do the exact opposite of what they say and I'll end up in a pile of my own bones and I'll never graduate from college and I'll never get married and I'll never ha----------- LOOK OUT THE WINDOW! Kyle yells over the cacophony of the engine's hum and my thought hurricane. I turn my head to look.
|Me and Kyle|
It is everything I imagined it would be and it is everything I did not imagine it would be. Do you ever have a moment in which you tell yourself, "There has got to be more to life than this"? For me, this is a glimpse of the "more." A glimpse of the better things to come. This is not the near death experience I'm fearing it will be, but rather the near life experience I'm hoping for.
After about sixty seconds of what feels more like floating than free falling, Kyle opens our parachute. He eventually hands me the reins and lets me direct our path back down towards Earth. My joy is effortless.