Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Flight of Imagination

The assignment for this week's prompt is to write a piece that begins with the line, "I could never have imagined" and ends with the line, "Then the whole world shifted." We're going to stick with the 600-word limit this week.

I could never have imagined that I, The Queen Chicken of the World, me...the one who doesn't even like to stand on a chair...would be standing at the open door of an airplane with a parachute strapped to my back. Me. Getting ready to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Oh. My. God.

Well, OK. There was a very fine looking "instructor" between me and the parachute. Good-looking, rugged young guy. I figured the powers that be were giving a little eye candy to a middle-aged Queen Chicken as a reward for my bravery. He tried to be reassuring and confident. I'm sure he felt my panic rising, because he finally just repeated the word, "Breathe."

The engine noise was deafening, so the instructor leaned close to my ear and said it again, "Breathe." I tried. I really did. I tried to breathe. I gasped and I panted and I hyperventilated, but I'm not sure I ever managed to breathe. The instructor repeated his other directions, put my hand over the cord, and counted down.

"Ready? We jump on three! One.....two......three.......!"
And out we went. Into the clear blue nothingness of an Arizona autumn sky.

The world became silent. Except for the scream, but that was just inside my chicken brain. The instructor leaned in again and quietly repeated his new mantra and mine: "breathe".

I breathed. I realized that I was actually doing this ridiculously stupid and brave thing, and I was still alive. I conquered the fear. I had done it! I pulled the cord and the chute opened like a perfect (and very LOUD) flower. I would live through this experience.

I had done it. In the moments floating earthward, the many things I had never done flashed before my eyes. I threw my fear to the wind along with my caution and with no grace at all, my tired, old, out-of-shape ass lit on the grassy landing field.

I stood up, fully conscious of the fact that I had let my life be orchestrated by my fears. I had conquered the first of those many fears. Then, in that moment, for me, the whole world shifted.

Always, feel free to comment!

(I bet you thought my parachute wouldn't open, huh? And yes, this is a work of complete fiction because you will NEVER see my tired, old, out-of-shape ass jumping willingly out of any airplanes!)

Trish in AZ


  1. Well a good looking instructor certainly can't hurt.

    Stopping by from trdc.

  2. My husband was given a gift certificate to jump from an airplane. He messed up his back right before he was scheduled to go so he didn't...and the instructor ended up DYING on that jump!!!


    Yeah, you won't see me jumping from a plane anytime soon.

    Visiting from RDC

  3. Loved your parachuting story! I parachuted on my 22nd birthday, which was 35 years ago, and I blogged about it not long ago. The link is below if you'd like to see how my adventure went.
    Good post!


  4. Those instructors are always very good looking, aren't they? Not in a million years would I jump out of a functioning airplane. Sometimes fear is a good thing. :)

  5. Oh boy. I jumped out of a plane once tandem sky diving. Scariest, most exhilarating thing I've ever done in my life. I high;y recommend it!

    My favorite line is: "I stood up, fully conscious of the fact that I had let my life be orchestrated by my fears."


    Stopping by from TRDC.

  6. Ohh what a cute story. I genuinely laughed all the way through it. I love the title "Queen Chicken". I love that she had to be told to breathe so many times. I like that it flowed, and was simple. An enjoyable read. The use of the word "ass" in the story threw me off a little because I wasn't expecting it.

    I'm glad to see you are giving your writing muscles a workout!

    Stopping in from The Red Dress Club.

  7. This almost, ALMOST makes me think skydiving would be something I could do, for nothing else than that sense of freedom from fear.

    Wonderful post!

  8. I am so with you...I would Never. Ever. Ever. Jump out of a plane. Ever.

    You captured the fear/excitement well!


    Stopped by from TRDC

  9. Love it! I really do want to go skydiving someday, but I am scared!

    Visiting from RDC. Have a great weekend!

  10. In reading your story I thought, "I can do that. If she can jump...I can jump" I looked up from the computer screen at our brilliant blue sky and pictured myself floating through it.

    Then I read your line about this being a piece of fiction. Saw myself plummet to the earth with no chute and decided I will retain my crown as a Queen Chicken as well. Why mess up a winning streak.

  11. Very well written - you had me at the good looking instructor :-) Not on my bucket list, though. I'll stay on the ground!

  12. Nicely done! I don't think I'll every have that courage, good for you!

  13. What fun! I enjoy your writing style. You keep it light without sacrificing good word choice. Well done.

  14. I LOVE the "Breathe" throughout and her freedom at the end. Very well done...and yes, completely unexpected. Kudos.
    BTW, my 53 year old coworker had done over 300 jumps...and plans on doing more!

  15. Hi! I'm a newbie to TRDC, as well. If you hadn't said it was fiction at the end - I would have thoroughly believed it - I LOVE fiction like that! Can't wait to read more!

  16. Very well done! And yes, I was afraid about the parachute not working...:)JP

  17. I was definitely in that moment with you. The thought of jumping from a plane terrifies me and I was nervous reading this - great description!

    Saying hi from TRDC!

  18. I was hoping this was NOT fiction! You portrayed the middle-aged woman so perfectly (says the middle-aged woman). I really enjoyed this!

  19. Well done! If you hadn't said it was fiction, I'd have never guessed.
    And I personally can't think of a reason to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

  20. I could never do this myself, but loved reading your story about it!