“I don’t think I can do this guys,” Melissa says to the group as everyone walks out the door of the hangar. She looks down at her brown ankle boots and swallows audibly.
“Aw, Come on Mel!” the man in front of her says. “We all promised that the day after we graduated from college, we would start on everyone’s bucket list. We drew names and mine was first.”
“But David. Why did you have to choose sky diving for the first thing?” she whines.
“Buck up, Mel!” he yells with a huge grin on his face as he grabs her by the shoulders. He leans in and looks her in the eyes. “This is going to be great. I can’t wait to feel the wind pass by me at a hundred and twenty miles an hour as we drop from thirty-five hundred feet. I just wish they’d let us jump the first time without the chute opening right away. I’d love to feel that excitement of free-falling through the air at top speed.”
“Will you please stop talking about it?” Mel complains.
“Yeah, don’t you think she’s pale enough as it is?” one of the other women says with concern.
“I don’t want to do this either, but it’ll be over before you know it,” one of the other men encourages.
“Yeah. Splat,” Mel says with a sarcastic laugh.
“It’s perfectly safe,” he assures.
“How would you know?” Mel says.
“Look. These guys are professionals. They were in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and who knows where else. They know what they’re doing. They wouldn’t risk anyone getting hurt. It’s how they make a living.” He takes a deep breath and says, “I don’t think they want to kill off their clients. Do you?”
“I guess not. But…” she hesitates with a scowl.
“Come on! Let’s do this already!” David yells with glee as he boards the small airplane.
Mel reluctantly steps on and moves toward the back.
“Don’t you want to be first Mel?” David teases. He looks at her again and asks, “You’re not going to wuss out on us at the last second are you?”
She shakes her head and expels a long breath, leans her head back against the wall of the plane and closes her eyes. A few minutes later, she hears the door of the plane open and a blast of air brings her to reality. She watches as David receives last minute instructions before stepping through the open door and onto the wing.
“Whoa!” he yells with trepidation. “Looks higher from way up here.”
“You’re out. You can’t come back in,” the instructor says and lifts his fingers to count down the release and then gives him the thumbs up.
A scream of fear is heard as David releases his grip.
Mel lays her head against the wall again. She watches the others jump and finds herself alone with the instructor. He waves her over to him. She reluctantly crawls to his side.
“You’re going to be fine,” he assures. “Just remember what we taught you.” He reviews the steps and Mel steps out on the wing with his assistance.
She glances at him and sees the encouragement on his face. She looks back at her hands holding onto the wing, looks down and waits for the count. She yells, “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” as she pushes off, arches and feels the chute open. She looks up at the canopy and is relieved to see it billowing above her. She takes in the checkered landscape below and marvels at its vastness. She lets the peace and tranquility of only hearing the wind rush past her. A few moments later, she clearly hears a crackling voice over the radio on her shoulder and listens to the instructions as the man guides her toward him. As the ground rushes toward her, she feels the exhilaration as she remembers her instructions. She pulls the toggles and the parachute brings her in for a soft, walking landing.
A few moments later, she feels a hand on her shoulder and comes face to face with the man guiding her down.
“You did everything like a pro,” he says with a wide grin. “You flared like someone who’d been doing it for years.” He pauses, looks her in the eyes and pats her on the shoulder. “You did good kid.”
“Thanks,” she replies with a satisfied smile. She turns around and walks with her head down toward her group.
“I’m never doing anything like that again,” David says as he looks up at her with a green face. “You were right Mel. That was…” he leans over a trash barrel and gets sick.
She looks down at her ankle boots and bites her lip.
“Make room David. I think Mel needs in here too,” one of the men says.
“How are you feeling?” one of the other women asks.
“Unbelievable!” she looks up at her friends and shouts with glee. “Woo hoo!” She jumps up and down and pats everyone on the back. “What a rush! My adrenaline is pumping and I love it!” She spins around in a circle, shouts, “Let’s do it again,” and hears David vomiting once more.
It’s Time To Say…You Matter (Bucket List: Part Two)
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