Like many, I’ve always said I want to skydive, but subconsciously never really had the intent to. As social creatures, I feel we often make generic statements without any true intent- statements we feel will intrigue others, enhance their curiosity, and, perhaps, spark some kind of human connection. Sure I would’ve loved to say I had done so and would love to be able to replay the experience in my head- and to tell tales of adventure and over comings of fear and truly living.
I decided I didn’t want to be one to make generic and empty proclamations of my need for adventuresome fulfillment. So, one random day in February, I decided I was going skydiving, (without, of course, really thinking about what it was I was about to do). I decided I’d go on an upcoming trip to Colorado- a surprise trip, in fact, that I had planned for my boyfriend and I. After all, I was taking his Colorado virginity- what a great adventure and story to also throw in the towel for both of our jumping-12,500-feet-out-of-a-mother-fucking-plane virginities too.
He was pretty ecstatic when I told him of our upcoming adventure; me, on the other hand, refused to allow myself to pollute my mind with conceptualizing our feat. Having done so, would illuminate me with a fear that would likely cause me to change my mind, which my pride refused to allow me to do.
Our first morning awaking in beautiful Boulder Canyon, at an equally stunning and quaint Inn- Alps Boulder Canyon Inn- we were taken aback by the perfect weather- 60 & sunny despite a forecast of glum and cold.
We hopped in the car to make the short 25-minute journey to Mile Hi Skydiving in nearby Longmont, Colorado. I was incredibly nervous but surprisingly calm, mostly due to the fact I had not allowed myself to anticipate what was about to happen. We arrived at the hangar, expecting some kind of instruction, some kind of pre-jumping education. We signed our waivers agreeing to their lack of insurance & amp; admitting the death-risk in our stunt. Although, I didn’t read that myself; I simply initialed every box I saw, knowing that if I read it, I may have to poop, because that’s what I do when I get nervous. And pooping while strapped to a stranger, while wearing a jumpsuit, somewhere in the unforgiving atmosphere would’ve been rather embarrassing.
We waited in the hangar for an instructor to call our names. They chucked a couple jumpsuits at us, told us to suit up, then rushed us off on a wagon attached to the back of a pick up truck. I wasn’t even zipped up and I nervously listened to the other instructors giving their tandem students pointers- how to land, what to do when first thrown from the plane, what it’s going to feel like, that they aren’t going to die. My guy was rather young and seemed to be having a dance party in his head- probably rocking out to a classic jam band- Modest Mouse, Yonder Mountain String Band, or the like- because that’s what adventurous Colorado people do. I think he enjoys the fact that his student is preparing for death, meanwhile his certainty for safety and expertise remedies any chance of fear he may have. I think it’s probably like a mental orgasm.
He rushed me into the plane, though all five feet and 100 pounds of me could’ve easily been knocked over by the force of the propeller wind. We were the first on and my boyfriend was second, sitting next to me. Our instructors sat across from us. As we gained altitude, I stared nervously out the window, my right leg shaking uncontrollably under my boyfriend’s calming hand, while my jumpsuit remained unzipped. Once we reached a certain altitude I was convinced we’d be jumping soon; everything looked small enough below us. My boyfriend asked his instructor how high we are and he said 3000 feet. Insert heart attack (and fart) here. That meant we had 9,500 MORE feet to go. I was officially silent for the remainder of our time on the plane. At some point later, in a cloudy memory, I watched my boyfriend fall from the plane. My instructor told me to sit on his lap and started attaching things and buckling buckles, all of which I was certain would fail. I had this vision of getting sucked off him, straight out of my jumpsuit and toppling helplessly to the ground- 2.5 miles below me. I passed gas on him too. I’m not sure if he noticed, but considering the compromising position I was in, butt-to-penis, atop his lap, I’m pretty sure he felt the rumble.
We walked towards the door- we were the last out- he opened it- and chucked us out the door. I’m not going to lie, I considered having a voluntary heart attack, simply to save myself from smashing relentlessy off the hard earth, probably impaled by a Rocky protrusion.
But then I enjoyed it. There was no falling sensation- the main thing indicating that I actually was falling was the heavy, cold wind and the quickly growing objects below us. It was majestic. It was magical. It was breathtaking. It was intense. And beautiful. It was kind of like floating and flying. When I looked up, the Rocky Mountains lasted seemingly forever. Deep reds against a cerulean sky and a rusty-orange ground below, spotted with deep hues of green from new coming spring foliage. The air was thin and cold and was, at first, difficult to breathe- but once I regained my ability to comfortably inhale and exhale, I decided this was probably a much better buzz than any that could be purchased at an oxygen bar. I was invigorated and exhilirated, had more adrenaline than I’ve ever had before in my life, but oxymoronically was also simultaneously calmed- quieted, and more appreciative of this life than I had been in a long time.
Sure I had no instruction and at first my instructor’s lack of instruction terrified me, but after the fact, I was appreciative of his tactic. He had over 7000 jumps. This was a passion for him. And my fear was a boost to his ego and love of the sport. I lived. I didn’t have a bowel movement. And I didn’t land in a prairie dog hole. And the next day, at our same Inn in Boulder Canyon, we awoke to a beautiful snow- cold as hell. Funny how sometimes things as simple as the weather reiterates and reminds us that everything in this life happens for a reason.
By: Ashley Halligan