when you leave:
wish list

before all after

a short story, by me.


The Jump

The frightfully chilling air races around me. I can feel the hairs on my neck standing up straight, but this is not from the bitter autumn temperature, it is the height. I must be a mile up; the ground is hardly visible through the condensed atmosphere at this altitude. I look over the edge of the airplane door. This is it; I�m going to jump. One more foot and I will have freedom, complete freedom. A rush of calm encompasses me as I take that first fateful step.

As I race towards the ground, I realize that I am no longer in charge of anything but myself. I can afford to be irresponsible, I can afford to be unreliable, I can afford to be unpredictable. A free fall. My long brown hair flails freely in the open air. I have foolishly forgotten to tie it back, though now, it does not bother me. Despite the fact that the air is thin, it still has density and manages to act upon my cheeks, drawing the corners of my mouth towards my ears. Though it is forced upon me, I do not object to smiling. A free fall. The sleek black leather of my tight black skydiving suit protects me from the harsh September wind. The sharp coldness penetrates through the material, but my warm body temperature overcomes it. A free fall. I�m deaf to all other sounds besides the wind fiercely blowing against my cheeks. There is a solid static of air inside my ear canals, I can only hear my own excited thoughts, and even then, they are quickly drowned out. A free fall. I look up and I see an ocean of blue sky. The plane has already flown out of sight, so there is nothing sailing in this vast blue sea but the sun. It�s enormous, larger and more brilliant than anything I have ever seen before. As the sun slips farther away, the earth gradually moves closer, very slowly at first, but then faster and faster. A free fall.

The swelling of the land reminds me that my time in the sky is dwindling. I recognize that my short journey is coming to an end. I pull the cord and my parachute opens, I feel as if my spine is going to be ripped through the top of my head, but the jolt only lasts for a fraction of a second. I softly float to the ground. The last few precious moments of freedom are spent in a slow glide back to the earth�s surface. I treasure each second because I know that as soon as I reach the soil, I will be reestablished into a normal life filled with reliability and responsibility. My freedom and my independence are left back in the air. Gravity pulls me down; I am back on the ground, back to reality.

My mother is waiting for me. She is there to congratulate me on my first unaccompanied jump. She is proud; I can see it in her face. She is running towards me, ready to applaud my fine work on a solo dive.

�Angie! Don�t you ever jump off the tailgate again! I would just die if my baby got hurt,� she yells at me, �take that bag off your shoulders and come inside. Daddy�s got dinner all ready for us.�