“They are like eagles. Truly free. I do not hesitate. The fall feels like a flight. Exhilarating!”
He was wearing sun glasses. He was cocky. No. Confident. With the practiced apathy of a man who knows exactly what he is doing and has done this many many times he bound my legs together as i sat on the edge strapped in place. I was strangely calm. Fear would come later, for now i was numb. I turned my head around as the cold wind clawed across my face and i could faintly see the shapes of the onlookers standing not too far away. There should be familiar faces there , a couple of them. My eyes scanned the crowd for them , then gave up. They had taken my glasses, i remembered. I wasn’t going blind. Not yet.
I tried to turn in my seat to catch a glimpse of what lay in store for me , beyond the edge, but it was all a blur to me then. Probably a good thing. The man was saying something now, presumably to me, but i was only half listening. I nodded and made the appropriate noises. He seemed satisfied.
I stood up. I couldn’t walk for the weight tied to my legs. I was guided to the edge of the platform by a pair of strong hands clutching me from behind. I shuffled uncertainly. The enormity of what lay before still hadn’t dawned on me. And then I was there. At the edge.
I could see the sea below, and in front of me and the bridge across it, which i had crossed just an hour ago.
They seemed so far away. So far below. Then it hit me.
They tell you not to look down. But of course you do, you’re human after all. What I saw made me question my own sanity. For a moment i was lost. Images rushed through my head as the blood pounded in my ears obliterating the last of whatever the men behind me were telling me. It didn’t matter anymore, one way or the other. I thought of home, of simpler times and of six months ago. I felt insane, like something had really unhinged me, taken away the last shred of sanity and self preservation left. I felt incredibly stupid. And I realized i would never have attempted this back in the day.
I have felt the warm almost touch of near death once before but it was nothing like this. It was sudden, unexpected and unwelcome. This was something else. This was planned and calculated. I was prepared. I was eager. But at the moment of truth i faltered. I was scared.
Once i faltered, twice i faltered. On the third count I finally let go. I spread my arms wide and took the leap of faith. Some people jump , I fell.
I have heard people scream , and I have listened to their accounts but nothing prepared me for what I felt. Nothing. My mind went blank as if trying to comprehend this new height of stupidity. There was no fear, no exultation. Nothing. Just the moment.
For an eternity I fell and I could try but I wouldn’t be able to describe what it was that i felt. It was the closest I had ever been to serenity.
Free fall. Two hundred kilometers an hour. The wind slaps back against my face tearing at the skin, forcing my mouth open and I ready myself for the scream but it never comes. It rises from the pit of my stomach but gets lost somewhere on the way. I see the ground rushing towards me, little figures , rooftops , cars, and then I stop. The cord stretches to its limits and i am pulled back into the air. I faintly remember some of the instructions given to me. I was surprised at how calm i was , how much in control of my own dangling body. I reached up and grabbed the strap tied to my knee. A rush of blood to my head and I’m upright again. I bounce up and down like a toy, a rag doll, like something not even human. Now I scream.
I scream anger , i scream defiance but most of all I scream joy. For that moment I was everything I wanted to be. I was drunk. I was euphoric. I was alive. Alive.
I had survived the highest commercial bungy jump in the world and I was higher than any hallucinogen could ever get me.
Every day you live and you learn. A little more about the world, and about yourself. I learnt that I was capable of things I didn’t think I could be capable of. I learnt there was more to me then I had found out yet. I learnt to live again. For myself. i learnt that sometimes you need to fall in order to rise again.
They say the adrenalin rush addicts you, that’s why people do it again and again. As someone who knows a little bit about addictions, and obsessions, I say I would test myself again , even further, just to see what i’m made of. For science, I say.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
– Nelson Mandela