Thursday 29 September 2016

Memories are definitely made of this

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

Because of the weather there had been so many false starts that until it was actually time to jump I didn't think I was jumping. Despite so many false starts it seemed sudden, then there it was, an open door, a man stuck to my back and 10,000 feet of open air.

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I was nervous but not panicky. I just really wanted to concentrate, to focus on every moment and lodge it in my memory. Bar things like weddings and childbirth, you don't always know what moments will choose to stick in your brain. Some of my memories are seemingly random, like picking lines out of a candlewick bedspread one childhood night. But this was a moment I knew would last for as long as my memory does, I needed to catalogue this birthday present from Beloved.

Once I had my legs out of the plane door I had to remember to push them under the plane, which did not feel one tiny bit natural, and to put my head back on the man's shoulder. The wind was so strong it took my breath away. Literally. There was too much noise to talk. And then we were falling. 5,000 feet in two seconds, 200 kph, the ground, a patchwork of green fields over Kilkenny, was remarkably clear. I could feel that in my attempts to breath my lips were getting moved so far around my face that they risked getting hooked on my ears.

Then bang, the parachute opens and it all slows down, the rush becomes a drift. You can have chitty chat as you swirl around in the sky. Vinnie told me it was his first day on the job. I was kinda glad he didn't tell me that earlier. On this job, he clarified. Oh, grand so. Will we do a few turns? sez he. Ah yeah, seeing as we're here like. I just had one more instruction remember, to lift my legs for landing. And we were back on earth. A major memory made. Very cool.

Sunday Independent

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