“Five, six, seven, eight.” The counts were too fast. “One, clap,” my hands shook, barely making the position. “Two, three,” I gave my right foot to Selena; her face portrayed my emotions better than any words. We weren’t ready. Raw adrenalin coursed through my veins. I could hear the distant ‘thud’ of my heart.
At first it was terrifying, then frustrating, now, exhilarating. The fear will never completely leave, each time I fly my palms sweat and I feel a heavy twist in my stomach. The good news; it gets easier, and, it makes me happy.
Sixty fliers died in the past twenty years, ninety went to the hospital with permanent injuries relating to the sport. Flying is dangerous but rewarding; who doesn’t wish that they could soar effortlessly through the air? Every day I go to practice and fly over the heads of all the spectators.
I used to wish that the fear would vanish, leaving me ready for anything. I wanted the whole idea of getting hurt to leave me in peace so I could focus. I have been flying for months, and, I still feel it each time I hear those counts. Each stunt is dangerously different, some higher, faster, stronger, than the last. There is no possible way to be prepared.
“Five, dip” I crouch, and with the next count, soar over all the heads around me. Before me is a white wall, my brain can’t process the images whirring by so quickly. Time slows; I pull my arms up, and, my smile lights up the room. Below me, Brianna shifts her weight, rocking back and forth. I come crashing down.
I still need work, but, I love what I do. I dare to defy the odds and hope to escape the year with no hospital visits. I still fall, everyone stumbles every now and then, but, I’m getting better. The most valuable skill in life is the ability to pick yourself up when you fall; the difference, I fall farther. “Five, six, seven, eight.” I smile; this time, I’m ready.