Tug! Tug! It’s stuck all right! I lose all hope of hearing that thunderous whoosh, seeing that gentle puff of parachute silk billowing above me. Nah, this time it’s just me, the sky and that old enemy, gravity.
I’m no longer floating - I’m dropping towards the ground like a lead ball, faster, faster. I force my eyes open again and try to reason with myself. I probably have another 60 seconds before impact. Think! Think!
My heart begins to thump again. The adrenalin is rushing through me. I know what to do and I do it. I move backward by extending my arms and bending my knees like I’m trying to touch the back of my head with my heels. From this position I can make a left or right turn by twisting my upper body slightly.
You might be wondering why I’m bothering but I’d been told in training for my solo jump that you can actually survive a free fall from up to 50,000 feet if you stay in control and hey, I’m only at 11,000 feet so I must be in with a chance, don’t you think? A survival float, they call it. Choose your drop zone. I know I’ll have a better chance of survival if I land on a nice soft spot. Or in deep water. Or even on a car or a rooftop. Anything but cement. God, not that…
My tactics seem to be working. I have slowed my speed and am heading towards the beach. Of course I can’t hear the waves crashing or the seagulls calling or the surfers cursing - all I can hear is the sound of wind screaming in my ears and my desperate prayers…‘help me, help me, oh God, oh Godddd...’ About 30 seconds to go.
I’m sorry now. I wasn’t then. The one time I’d been determined to do something just for myself, look what happens! Any moment now. Yikes, here comes the ground, faster, faster.