My bent body fights against its multicoloured skin. Hands are pulling my arms, pushing the tight fabric against clenched fists. Everybody is in a sweat, causing a commotion in the middle of the training room. All around me, people slide into their suits and off they go. But we are here for a while, my body is not to be rushed.
Once I’m in, half blue and half red, I’m taken down a small corridor. It’s white and clinical, completely sparse. It could lead to anywhere. Our destination is a room with a big, glass tube in the middle. As we enter, the sound hits like a wall. Just over the roar of the fans, someone says ‘Are you ready, Hannah’ and I nod.
Next, I find myself squashed under the instructors arm and approach a tiny opening. I think we’re never going to fit through that but then we are sucked in. I can hear nothing but the deafening buzzing of the fans as I am elevated, spinning faster and faster, higher and higher.
I am an eagle, flying through the sky.
My wings spread out wide, silky feathers of chocolate brown.
Over the cotton clouds, through the wild, the wilderness, the wind.
I glance down to the swaying leafy green tree tops, the fields of golden rapeseed.
A rabbit, my prey, jumps into the hedgerows, past the sun kissed daffodil borders.
Through the layers of glass, a silhouette is making shapes that I have to mimic with my body to stay floating. Reach forward, reach out, keep balance. It’s when I get this balance that the instructor lets go, and there I am, floating on my own.
The sun in the sky is dazzling, its beams reaching wide.
It embraces me, its warmth spreading across my body.
Even the wind, the air, is no longer biting.
Instead, it melts me down and I become like a river of molten gold.
It’s like I’m part of the sun itself.
There’s just enough pressure in the tunnel for me to feel held by the air. Just enough for me to be able to extend. I can’t believe my body is so straight, that its not clenching up or twisting as it does when I’m on the ground. I’m completely weightless, I’ve never felt so free. I can do anything that I want. I look to the top and I let the wind take me up. Once I’m there, I spin and spin and spin.
I fly through the air, I’m surrounded by little spots of brown.
Maple copters, whirling and twirling like spinning tops.
One lands on my hand. At some point I know I have to land too.
Soon the time comes for us to be lowered back down. The instructor takes hold of one arm and one leg, my blue side, and soon the noise of the fan changes slightly. We begin to slowly fall.
I jump out of the plane and my parachute fills with air.
I move down through the clouds in silence.
My body becomes heavier and my muscle become sore again.
My body is starting to go back to its bent self and I look up and wish that I could go back up.
If only I could flap my hands enough to make them wings, I could be free again.
I continue to be carried down and out of the corner of my eye,
I see the silhouette of two giant wings approach me
It’s an eagle, it’s feathers ruffling in the wind.
I smile at it knowingly.
Even when I reach the ground, I will find ways to fly.