I so much wanted to impress everyone with my daring. I wanted a thrill. I wanted to feel like I was flying. I had a death wish. There were so many reasons for bungee jumping. I was twenty-two and wanted to fly. I held on and flew.
My friend from work and I made the appointment. When we arrived at the site, he and I made jokes and watched all of the others climbing the metallic tower. It was as tall as a bridge back home, but it wasn’t as tall as the hotels in the Art Deco section of Miami Beach that I had spent so much time ogling. I reasoned that this would be easy. Little did I know that everything looks higher at the top.
We arrived at the ticket booth and paid. Yes, you pay to jump off a precipice. At least in the Army, the paratroopers get paid to jump. Why were we, two Airmen, paying to jump?
So, we climbed up to the top. My friend looked at me and I looked at him. I looked down and wondered if this was all really necessary. They were explaining how not to vomit and I tuned that out. It was high, high in the sky, and I felt queasy enough without thinking about that. I wondered what my face showed and put on my best smile.
My friend was looking down. I was strapped in. They even attached a large comfort pillow. I dove off. The exhilaration was intense. I was flying. The ground was approaching and fast. I grabbed onto my comfort pillow and screamed. It was simultaneously beautiful and horrifying. I bounced and was lowered.
It was my friend’s turn. He did it. He was braver. No yelling escaped his throat.
“When can we do it again?” I asked. We cracked up. His eyes were twinkling. The diploma that they gave us was really anticlimactic. I have kept it to remember that piece of my life and my friend, as if I could ever forget.