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Falling for Laura

On the Fly

By Dennis HumphreysPublished 6 months ago 9 min read

by: D.R. Humphreys (theDreamWriter)

I looked over at my love, as we began speeding towards the Earth, knowing somehow, we'd be together, forever. Still, I wondered why I was there, in the middle of a free-fall through the air, hurling towards the ground.

My wife to be, Laura, talked me into sky diving, something she had done before, but not I. "You fly like a bird,' she said. I didn't like the thought of it, and I liked heights less. However, the exercise seemed to be going well, at least to the point of pulling the rip cord. We planned on pulling our rip chords together in some symbolic gesture, whatever that was. I knew that wasn't happening, as I shot passed her and her open chute.

My chute didn't open... there wasn't a spare. Let's see... stepping out of the plane at thirty thousand feet, and if I remember my high school physics correctly, free fall is thirty-two feet per second, per second. I don't have time to figure it out, but the answer is the same... I'll be fucking dead in a short while, lying in some farmer's field until they locate my gelatinous body and cart it away.

It's pretty up here. I can see tiny cars driving on the road by the river. I just drove down the road with Laura yesterday. It was down there we stopped along the way, to eat lunch. Hmmm,,, I can't see the restaurant.

God... I remember the time in third grade, I beat Tommy Fitzpatrick up for taking a special pen my dad got me. Everyone ooooed and ahhhhed about it when they saw it, especially Tommy. Then it disappeared. I blamed him for it, though he vehemently denied taking it. It was understandable though, he did sit next to me in class, and among all the kids, he fussed about the pen the most. It was him. I knew it was him and I assigned him the blame. The next day after beating the crap out of him, and giving him a well-bruised face... I found it. I felt bad, but more embarrassed, if I told him I did and apologized. I said nothing, when I should have said something. That would have been the decent thing to do.

Damn! I forgot my sister's birthday last week. We don't talk as much as we should. I don't call her, but then, she doesn't call me. Oh, well... I can't call her now and apologize. Damn... my dog! Who's going to take care of my dog? What's that? Shit... that was a bald eagle I just passed! I wonder if it's from that island site in the river. I understand they have quite a few there now, since they've been keeping a close eye on them. Those things are big, but not as big as the California condor. I'd love to see one of those...I never got to see a condor. I guess I'd have to go to California to see one. I went to California one time for a job interview, but I didn't like it. There were too many negatives about the place to even interest me, moving there. Plus, the cost of living was outrageous..

I wonder how Laura is going to accept this. We were supposed to get married in three weeks. All the plans we made... they've sort of just... went away now. I wonder who she'll end up marrying after I'm gone, and how long it'll take her to get over me. Damn... I can see the place where we ate yesterday. The ground is certainly coming up fast. I wonder if I'll feel anything... maybe just a few seconds. It most likely will be over in a flash.

That Mike Trudeau always had the hots for Laura... God, I don't want to die. Why did this have to happen? I'm twenty-five years old. I have a decent job, making good money. Laura and I would have been good together. We planned on having two kids in a few years. We didn't want to rush things. We planned on getting established first and to save some money... perhaps, buy a house in the country where we thought it would be better to raise a family... away from all the bullshit, going on in the cities, these days.

I always wanted to be a geologist, ever since I was a little kid. I had an incredible rock collection because of my interest in the earth, but as I got older, other things attracted my attention. I always had an attention problem, When I had gone to private school, taught by nuns, there wasn't a diagnosis of ADD then. I was either influenced by the devil in any mischievous things I committed, or I was unceremoniously considered the spawn of the devil, if I was really out of hand.

I suppose I did push the edge at times. There were a few things I regretted doing. Having a chance of doing them over, differently, would be nice, but looking back... how important is that really, when life is a learning process? You learn by your mistakes, not being perfect... so the logical conclusion is that more mistakes you make in your life, the more you learn. Do you become more perfect? Maybe that's a good thing.

Still, there are lots of things I did, looking back at them now, I wish I hadn't. Maybe the mistakes are your path to perfection. This sky diving thing was certainly a mistake. I wonder when I'm dead if I'll be able to come back here and see all the people I love, perhaps help them somehow in their lives... or if dying is just the end. I certainly don't want my life to end, I planned on doing too much. Life has been too short. I haven't really accomplished much, but maybe I did more than some people whose lives ended early.

There's a bicyclist moving down the road. I always liked to bicycle. We should have gone bicycling rather than skydiving. Why did I ever let Laura talk me into this? I wonder how far she is behind me. I suppose she'll be the one to find me and have to call 911.That's a bummer. I see the field where I'm going to land. There's a farmer plowing it. I wonder if he'll see me hit the ground. I imagined some of those Merry Melodies' cartoons, or the Road Runner ones where the chaser falls and hits the ground. They have to pull themselves out of the deep hole they created because of their impact. I wondered if that could really happen. Would those coming to get me have to pull me out of a two foot hole I created, because of the speed I fell? I really don't want this to happen...I don't want to die. I could feel myself screaming at the top of my lungs. Out of the clear blue, ha, ha... and why? Screaming wouldn't change things, but it seemed to be an unsolicited impulse.

I glanced again at the ground. The speed which I was descending, was beyond my imagination. Would people on the ground look up and notice my body, silently hurling towards the ground? Could I go any faster? Would I land on something? Maybe another person? That would be gross. I suppose there were worse ways to die than this, but the voluminous thoughts running randomly through my head, only shared a few with me. It has to be a few minutes of the most excruciating fear capturing the soul anyone can imagine. That's what makes it bad. A few minutes of torture that can make the sanest of people become utterly mad.

There are kids fishing at a pond. I remember dragging my father along when I was a kid to fish at old man Hurley's pond. He hated it because I always handled my rod wrong and managed to hook his finger, which he ended up having to cut out. It was never about the fishing... I just wanted to hang with my dad and learn things from him. He was the smartest man I knew. He wasn't very talkative, so you had to pay attention and watch closely. I remember Hurley was the skinniest man alive, I knew of back then. He was also the kindest man, always smiling. He always had two or three funny stories to tell when he stopped to see how we were doing fishing.

The year before dad died, the Hurley farm burned. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hurley died in the fire overnight. It was suspicious in nature and after the fire investigators got through, they deemed it arson. However, they never caught the perpetrators. Some large investors bought the property and turned it into a two-hundred home development. I wonder if I'll run into the Hurley's. I don't know what the norm is here. Maybe I can find the truth. Maybe in the next life there aren't secrets.

Looking at the fields, they are incredible... strips of bright green and deep, red brown. You can tell it's farm country alright. I wonder what's going to become of our farmers. They sure get screwed. You get runaway inflation and higher costs... who collects most of the money? The middle man... the stores. It's just like the oil companies... the prices double and who makes it? The refineries and they're always complaining they're losing money... with record profits. How do you justify the two?

Listening to others talk in my family, older people... the complaint always seems the same. Life is never long enough. Maybe that's because we waste so much of it when we're younger. We enter life with so many expectations from those around us, fueled by occasional glimpses of genius from us, that justify their expectations. We age and find excuses not to be exceptional. We rely on tomorrow coming to our aid and put off trying, as if anything else can actually help other than ourselves.

Responsibility weighs heavier than achievement. If more people took responsibility for their lives and others depending on them, there would be a higher degree of achievement. Most don't but avoid responsibility. If more accepted it willingly and unconditionally, results would be greater and success more significant.

I don't know why, but suddenly I have the need to scream at the top of my lungs again. It's turned into a maniacal laugh... it sounds maddening on my part. I can see my own shadow rushing from my left to meet my pending physical impact, simultaneously. The ground is dimpled from being newly plowed. I think I can even smell it, as my face is buried deep in the dirt, and stops.

Based on a true story of a friend who survived a thirty-thousand foot fall while sky diving with a failed parachute. His survival was accredited to the softness of the earth that had just been plowed.


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