I Flew

Left to my own motivation, I don't tend to follow through on things I decide to start doing. My legs don't get tan (1973); I don't exercise (1994-present); I don't tweak the script of my one-woman show (2004-present). I haven't learned to fly.

In junior high, I thought if I focused hard enough on jumping off the diving board and not coming back down, there might come a time when I would succeed. Someone has to be first, right? Later, I decided that since I apparently wasn't going to fly, I'd find out what it's like to fall.

I asked my boyfriend to go skydiving, but we never got around to it. After our breakup, he remembered my wish and gave me a gift certificate to make one jump. So I did.

My parachute was packed improperly. One of the capewells — the handles you pull on to ditch your main chute — was already released when the chute opened. All that kept me attached on the left side was one thin nylon strap caught under my harness. The left toggle — which I could've used to aim myself into the wind to decrease my landing speed — was out of reach. I hit the ground at 15 mph, dislocating my ankle and fracturing it in three places.

The aftermath is another story for another time.

That was the one thing I recall truly resolving to do and eventually doing. And it's why I've stuck to my resolution to never make one again.

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Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson