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“It’s a good day to die!”
I turn my head towards the voice to see my friend Neyna smiling. He seemed a bit nervous in his excitement. With camcorder in hand, he walked off towards the next spectacle, eagerly soaking it all in.
Looking around at our surroundings, I saw the irony of his words. The sky above held a steady overcast with a fading hint of rain. The ground was still wet from the drizzle that had followed us in an hour before. And there was barely anyone here. What had started as a pleasant morning had turned into a foreboding dread. After two hours on a bus and a cramped taxi ride, we were far from home, and our final destination still loomed 200 feet above us.
I’ve never heard a clear recount of a bungee jumping experience. The storyteller usually hits a memory block when trying to describe the key moments between the jump and the final dangle. I’ve tried to visualize the process myself and have at my best recreated the scene in City of Angels where Nicholas Cage falls off a skyscraper. Surely it couldn’t be as romantic as that?
“Anticipation of death is worse than death itself” – some Steven Segal movie
I’m not sure what felt worse, the slow elevator ride up to the top or being informed that I was to be the first one to jump. Confusion became bewilderment became acceptance in a brief span of minutes. Next thing I knew I was strapped up and clipped in. Shouldn’t I be getting some sort of pep talk? My friends suddenly grew quiet and I was ushered towards the ledge. As I took those final slow, tender steps, I made my peace with God, Buddha, Allah… whoever was listening. Standing precariously on the edge of the world, my senses told me: this is a bad idea, but you have to do it anyway.
I dove towards the mountain.
Time did not slow down. My life did not flash before my eyes. All I saw was the tunnel. It was shrinking as I moved through it. I seemed to be leaving this place and going to another. Fast.
And suddenly it was over. My body felt unusually relaxed as I dangled upside down like a yo-yo. This actually feels kinda nice, I thought. Back on the safety of earth I relived the moment as I watched each of my friends jump in succession. I listened and laughed as they each described their experience, ranging from fear to erotic to “fucking awesome”. Thinking back to those 200 feet of space, I could only describe it as sublime.