"You'll be fine," said the rugged guy velcro-ing up the straps on my boots.
This guy came from a particular template--the kind that SCUBA dives, signs up for helicopter flying lessons, and spends a summer backing packing through some godforsaken wilderness in eastern Europe. I was trapped with him on a platform that jutted out from a bridge over an angry little gorge. A bungie cord, basically a long elastic band, dangled down in the abyss. I was not ready, and this guy was not reassuring. Sure, he might be cavalier with his life, but I was not from that template.
Me? Sure ask me that when my life is flashing before my eyes. Great timing. I come from the template of people who break a sweat before talking to one or more strangers; I take at least twenty minutes to decide on what food I want to eat from a menu of a place I go to everyday for lunch, and I go to the same place everyday for lunch because trying to decide where else to go is too damn stressful. I wear sunscreen. I intentionally eat fiber. I usually think my headaches are harbingers of an impending stroke. In short, I should not be standing on a platform jutting out from a tall bridge over an angry gorge.
"You ready?" asks the rugged guy.
"Yes," I say. In a way I am not lying.
Rugged guy smirks. I smirk back. He looks like he's ready to push me, but I jump backwards. I'm happy to see him recede. Then I notice that I'm falling. I'm oddly okay with this. I'm not exhilarated per se, and I'm not terrified either. The fall is just...happening to me.
There is pressure on my feet, and I jerk upwards again. I fall again. Up again. This happens a few more times, then I come to a sort of slowly swinging rest. The water churns below me. It's louder here. I really do not like hanging upside down. The retrieval boat comes along. I get reeled in. There are more rugged guys down here, but they look bored and are smoking, and this annoys me. I sit at the back of the boat by myself as we motor to shore.
"That was insane!" My friend Kyle, who I had enlisted to drive me here, rushes up to me, and shakes me by my shoulders. "I would never do that! I can't believe you did, of all people."
"Yeah," I said. Another failed suicide attempt. I'm never going to escape this horrid world filled with all it's omnipresent pain, fearfulness, and irritation.