I could do that, I say to myself, from the safety of the peaceful beach.
But do I want to?
“Nance, you should do that. I know you are afraid.”
I am, as many of you know, very afraid of heights. I have avoided scary height related things and am trying to tackle them. If I can overcome this then who knows what else will be possible in my life. I also know at a certain age we begin to say I don’t need to do that as though we have reached a milestone where we can indulge in our safe happy places and not do too much that scares us or perturbs us.
On the last day a good friend turned to me and said, “Nance, you should do that. I know you are afraid.” In that exact moment, the parasail shuttle boat paraded itself by us. It was serendipitous.
Laura jumped up and ran into the water screaming, “How much to take my friend up right now?” He said $60 cash. Someone had $48. No one else had cash. He said he would do it.
Safety waivers and risk-of-death documents freak me out.
I jumped aboard, my heart beating in my throat. Guy hands me a clipboard — safety waivers and risk-of-death documents freak me out. Put your name, age, and sign it.
I could not resist, humour and the devil in me help me through my hardest moments.
How old do I look?
I don’t know. In your fifties.
I screamed loudly, as if in mortal pain.
What happened? Are you hurt? Yes! He thinks I am in my fifties.
Laura runs back into the water. What happened? Are you hurt?
Yes! He thinks I am in my fifties.
He drops me somewhat against my will on the motorboat. There are two beautiful 23 year old boys and a gorgeous 21 year old girl. I DO NOT ask them how old they think I am. Instead I ask them 400 questions.
How many accidents? Any deaths? Are you hungover? Do you smoke weed? Any meds? How does this thing work? What is the worst case scenario?
His longwinded answer to that last question made me cry a little.
I am really scared of heights. And really loved. Please take care of me.
Tia, the beautiful 21 year old girl said, I would like to come up with you. Tandem.
Okay but are you sleeping with either of these two? Or will you likely? Or could you now? That way they will ensure our safety.
At this point, they are laughing. Me too but my cheeks are wet with fear tears.
Beautiful Jules straps me into the harness and yanks tight in a way that is quite… um… special. My wet bikini top is pressed against his smooth perfect white T-shirt. My hands are holding onto his fabulous shoulders. My face is an inch from his and I want to kiss him as I know I am headed to my death. I never mention this to my 10 friends watching me on the beach. Many of them have boys about his age. In half minute we fly off the back of the boat and up to 500 feet above sea level. I am holding the straps so tightly my fingers are purple. I am shaking and crying a little. I am not breathing.
Tia is rubbing my hand and comforting me.
Tell me about your family, Tia.
She tells me about her parents painful divorce. For a moment, the good stuff I can share with her soothes my nerves.
What are you afraid of, Tia?
Would you ever face that fear?
If we make it alive, please get started with Jules. For me.
I look down finally as I am beginning to accept this vantage point. I see all my friends at the water’s edge staring up at me. I know they are cheering me on even though I can’t hear them because I am so high up it is tomorrow already where we are. I did it.