You Don’t Go Skydiving | Teen Ink

You Don’t Go Skydiving MAG

January 30, 2012
By H B BRONZE, Gleestown, Rhode Island
H B BRONZE, Gleestown, Rhode Island
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

You're on the roof. The apartment building's owned by a Jewish man. When you first moved in, you couldn't figure out how to open the front door with the key they gave you. You fumbled with stiff fingers in the cold. The woman inside at the front desk watched you through the glass door. The man emerged from the elevator. He was handsome and wearing a yarmulke. He opened the front door for you, smiled as you passed him. The smile meant nothing, but you remember it.

You don't know his name.

He told it to you. When you signed your lease, he told it to you. You don't know it.

You're walking to the edge. You step onto the parapet, precarious and swaying, on a tightrope of brick. You look down and the view doesn't make you sick. You can't remember how many floors there are to your apartment building, only that you live on floor three and you've never been on the roof before this. You were invited to the roof once. For a barbecue. You didn't go.

Your mother has just died. That's why you're doing this. No, no. Not because her death has made you sad. You knew that if you flung yourself off a building while she was alive she would be … You never decided what she'd be, exactly, but she'd be some type of unhappy. You're almost certain she would be unhappy. But she's gone now. You're done contemplating and you feel very sure about this.

You throw yourself off the building.

It's more of a tilt, to be precise. You tilt forward until there's nothing under you, and for a moment your body threatens to fall feet-first, which would just be stupid, but then your body lurches forward and you're going headfirst.

You're plummeting down, coat rippling against the icy wind, limbs sprawled. Jorge Borges' voice – you don't know his actual voice, but your imagination's made you one that fits nicely – fills your head, and he's saying something about death being a great relief. He said that once. At least you think he did. In an interview.

The air is icy, and it's the first real thing you've felt in a long time – in years, decades, since you were a child, since before that night ….

No, no. You're no tragic hero, sorry. You don't have one trauma-filled night of your past that haunts you, making you into some sexy enigma. It was just the night you realized that you didn't want to live here after all, in this world, and you'd like to live somewhere else. You were ­fourteen. You've tried explaining this to people, but they never understood. What happened to trigger such thoughts? they sometimes asked, or, if they didn't ask, you could hear them asking anyway. What happened? What happened? Nothing ­happened.

Cold air pricks your skin, and you've been falling for so long, suspended in this state of plummeting between the asphalt and the sky. People might be watching, but you can't crane your neck to see: the force of the wind is too strong. You try anyway, and the furthest you get is looking straight down, and it's hard to open your eyes, your eyelids are flapping and you manage to part them a sliver, and the wind is filling you right up, right up, you're a balloon, you're inflated, you're …



Time is so slow, hugging you tight like it doesn't want to release you. You like those arms around you – how did you never notice them before?



Ecstasy fills you.

I've never gone skydiving. The thought flits through your mind. Skydiving sounds nice. At the top of that building, before you tilted off, you thought you had sucked the marrow out of life. Every emotion that could be experienced, you'd felt. Every physical reaction, every event worth living, everything a human being could do – you had done it. But you'd forgotten about skydiving. You hadn't – you hadn't thought about skydiving.

You scream. You push at the air, looking for something to cling to, but the only thing that can catch you is the asphalt, and that's not what you want. You want to stop – stop! You want to go skydiving! How could you die before going skydiving? You're blind with panic, and the ecstasy's gone. The depression, too, but this is worse. You're screaming. The world is a neutral spectator, and you can feel it pausing as it watches, its eyes following you on your unwilling way down. You're screaming.

Gravity scrambles to scoop you up and toss you onto that roof again, and Time gives you all it has, but it's not enough, and you don't go skydiving.

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This article has 15 comments.

on Sep. 30 2013 at 10:26 pm
hawaiianbeluga BRONZE, Clayton, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Feeble tiny hands bound for greatness..." - Miracle, The Temper Trap

Such a beautiful and deep piece! Great job!

on Sep. 29 2013 at 12:35 am
Brezzybri SILVER, Lorain, Ohio
7 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Each of us is born with a pair of wings, but only those who dream learn to fly.

This is incredable..I am about to cry over here. Dude! You are so talented! Oh my word! Wow. this is perfect. I'm gunna die.

on Sep. 27 2013 at 4:01 pm
DreamWeaver BRONZE, Coarsegold, California
3 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
Jorge Luis Borges

This piece is beautiful. I loved it. 

on Sep. 26 2013 at 8:14 pm
l0velife BRONZE, Sugar Land, Texas
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you're still smiling." -Elizabethtown

Powerful, thrilling, and compelling. Keep writing! 

on Sep. 26 2013 at 3:49 pm
RelativetoWriting GOLD, Brecksville, Ohio
13 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
-Walt Whitman

I saw this in the magazine, and now I've found it online! This piece is touching. Thanks for writing. 

Wamnimwa said...
on Sep. 18 2013 at 9:59 am
Wamnimwa, Reykjavík, Other
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
It‘s well written, and the subject is of course very real, and I think you handle that quite well. I'm not a big fan of writing in 2nd person perspective, but it didn't really bother me while reading, so great job. 

on Sep. 15 2013 at 4:08 pm
TargonTheDragon GOLD, Ofallon, Missouri
15 articles 16 photos 292 comments

Favorite Quote:
First dentistry was painless.
Then bicycles were chainless,
Carriages were horseless,
And many laws enforceless.

Next cookery was fireless,
Telegraphy was wireless,
Cigars were nicotineless,
And coffee caffeineless.

Soon oranges were seedless,
The putting green was weedless,
The college boy was hatless,
The proper diet fatless.

New motor roads are dustless,
The latest steel is rustless,
Our tennis courts are sodless,
Our new religion — godless.

wow.  dang. i dont know what to say.  that was soo powerful.  like, really powerful. i approve. :)

on Sep. 14 2013 at 1:49 pm
MorningStar921 PLATINUM, Cheshire, Connecticut
21 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
"They made their own choice. They chose family. And, well... isn't that kinda the whole point? No doubt - endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it?"
--Chuck, 'Supernatural' Episode 522

OH MY GOD! That has got to be the best story I have read in such a long time. It was so chilling and beautifully executed. Amazing! And I loved the use of second person. It really drew me in, made me feel as if was the person falling. Keep up the good work!

novella BRONZE said...
on Sep. 7 2013 at 7:20 pm
novella BRONZE, Greer, South Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 19 comments
This is amazing.  You pulled off second person so flawlessly I didn't even register you'd written it in second person until I saw another comment.  It's a brilliantly-executed story!

on Sep. 6 2013 at 12:21 pm
GleekGamer PLATINUM, Somerset, New Jersey
28 articles 1 photo 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for."

Very well done! It's so hard to pull off writing in second person, but you executed it flawlessly. I commend your work!

on Sep. 4 2013 at 10:26 am
ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
26 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

applause, applause!  very good job.

on Sep. 2 2013 at 2:34 pm
HeatherOlivia GOLD, Solothurn, Other
16 articles 0 photos 86 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All things truly wicked start from innocence." - Ernest Hemingway

This is absolutely wonderful. Exremely sad, but a beautiful depiction. 

on Sep. 1 2013 at 10:18 am
WonTonFred1 SILVER, North Salt Lake, Utah
9 articles 0 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you can't convince them confuse them-Harry Truman

Very well done madame!

on Feb. 7 2012 at 9:00 pm
Jessica. SILVER, Lynwood, California
9 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
Call no man happy 'till he is dead

Breath taking. Just so amazing . Gosh I loved it so much!!! This should be published! Damn, this is so good, there aren't even any words for it