Unlike most teenagers I was not interested in my image or status. I did not care for gadgets or accessories. Relationships, as well as friendships, were beyond me. There was only one thing that mattered in life and that was flying.
I would wake up early every Saturday morning and make my way to the bumpy farm runway. Billy, the old manager, would take me up and we would circle until we reached a thousand feet. Billy would then press the releae button, the door would shoot open, I would count slowly to five, take a deep breath and then jump.
There is nothing like the feeling of falling at terminal velocity, knowing that the parachute might not open but not caring. All you can see through blurry, watery eyes is the earth moving slowly towards you. The wind rushes past your ears, drumming out all thought. My body was pummelled and moulded by just the sheer force of the air. Nothing and no one mattered in that moment, except me.
After a matter of seconds I would pull the parachute and make my slow decent onto the field. Those last few minutes hanging in the air under a great cloud of silk were always filled with excitement and disbelief at what I had just experienced.
There is nothing in the world as freeing and uplifting as stepping out of your box and over the edge.