A few years ago, my husband and I went for a jump from the top of a boat on Lake Michigan

on

That day, we were watching a low-altitude, day-glo Cessna climb into the
thousands of feet, and a strange thing happened as we watched: the plane
stopped, tilted up. I don’t know how long it was tilted up before Tony yelled,
“Shit!” And my husband pulled us both to the side of the bridge just in time.

This was not a perfect day for a jump. There was no wind, and the windswept
lake gave us little visibility. I was sitting on the far side of the boat,
and Tony was behind me. Suddenly, he said, “Christ, I hit the deck,” and he
leaned back against me. I turned around and saw that the plane was tilting up
again.

Tony said, “Christ,” again. I turned around and saw a face at the front of
the plane. I turned to look behind me, and I saw the man who killed himself.
It was as if he had taken the plane and flown it into himself.

I was so frightened my heart began to pound. I knew right away my
husband was going to have to jump. I held onto him as tight as I could, and I
looked over as we flew straight up and came to a stop. “You ok,” he
shouted over. My husband said he was fine, and he pulled me close.

We sat on the bottom of the boat, looking up as the plane continued to tilt up.
It seemed like it took forever for it to fall, but it finally hit the water.

I yelled, “Oh no! Oh no!” I started to panic. I didn’t know what to do.
A few minutes later, I saw my husband holding onto the side of the boat. “Are you okay?”
I said.

He said, “Shit, I am so not fine,” and he held on until the water drained from his
handprints. I looked up to the man and said, “You know… we were sitting
there for three hours?”

I wish I could tell you how I survived that day. But I’m not the only one
who gets nervous around heights. A few months ago, my husband was flying in
from work in a small Cessna. Then again, I get nervous around planes and
helicopters. Tony just went on the website to find out how tall the plane is.
It’s eleven stories tall.

I don’t know why it seems like I get nervous around things that are very
high, or very low, but I do. It’s just a fact of life, I guess. Some people
just don’t have it in them to jump. They are scared of heights and they
probably don’t look down in case they fall. I was taught that you have to
jump because you have to survive. You have to survive because you have to
live.

There is nothing more beautiful than a parachute. It opens. It fills with air. It
is filled with the smell of pine and the sound of the wind rushing around it.
And when you have a big rip, you can feel the breeze on your face. You can
smell the piney essence in the air on a day like today. And when two people
are flying high enough together, the wind is so strong they can’t hear the
other one say, “I love you.”

So, I will take these days when I can smell pine. And I will spend them
laughing and having a good time. Every day is like Christmas day. I love
these days. I love those good days. I love the days I can smell pine.

In the meantime, I will watch the Cessna fly higher, higher, higher and
higher. And I will be happy that I’m still alive and I am still standing in
this boat, still watching the sky.

I was not always happy. I was not always lucky. I was not always loved. I
was not always loved.

I was not always lucky. I was not always loved.

I was not always loved.

I was not always lucky.

I was not always lucky.

I was not always lucky.

I was not always lucky.

I was not always luck.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

I was not always lucky.lucky.

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