“Are you all right?”, the Jumpmaster asked me as I inched towards the edge.
The heavy cord that bound my legs together restricted each step I took and the lighter ones tugged at the hooks I wore on my torso. Absurdly, it was their presence that allowed me to move forward.
Blood had receded into my inner vessels, pumping through the muscles, readying my body for a fight it anticipated. Time slowed down and my perceptions narrowed until I could barely hear what I responded. I may have shouted a “Yes”. I do not remember.
The Jumpmaster unhooked the supporting rope, unshackling me from the fate that kept me high above the lake, and burdening me with the choice to make the jump or not.
Every signal that my brain released told me to retreat into the safety of the chamber at whose edge I now stood. I found my consciousness flooded with raw fear. Fear of danger and death. Millions of iterations of evolution over a billion years perfected the form of messaging that could alert my realised consciousness of impending danger, allowing me to make a reflexive judgment. Yet, the higher-level programming of the Homo Sapien brain overrode the primal instincts, compartmentalized the fear, and replaced it with the directive that I had already decided on.
I took a deep breath. And then, I launched into an artificial rage. It was a manifestation of the screams that were inside, and the energy that hitherto gripped my heart was released. I was finally free to act with complete rationality. Naturally, I took the final step and jumped.
It is striking that I remember most vividly these moments before the jump and not the actual experience. In time, even these will fade. Life will do what it does best, and true to the rule of entropy that governs all, even the relic of the memory might vanish. All that shall remain is a fact. And that would be enough.
When life decides to shake the ground beneath my feet, and it eventually will, I shall stand strong. The knowledge of the past shall embolden me, allowing me to widen my lips into a grin in the face of an immense ordeal. I shall remember that I stared at the face of death and came out feeling victorious. It is for this, and for only this reason that I recommend the reader to one day stand at a similar edge. And may it give you the strength to one day say, “Life. Why don’t you dare come at me!”