I’ve always been a sucker for a good romance, and I have to admit, meeting my hubs was like a romance novel, albeit a tad cliché. He lived in the apartment below mine. We met walking our dogs… actually; I tiptoed outside his apartment in my pajamas every morning in a mental fog, so my boxer could do her morning business.
He’d join me outside, all chipper in a suit and tie with a cup of coffee and his old black lab. After about the third time this happened, I started applying make-up before my morning outings.
Eventually, future hubs asked me out for dinner. We took our dogs on long nightly strolls and shared our goals and fears, stupid things we did in our youth (we thought we were older and wiser, but that didn’t come until later).
One day, early in our relationship, he showed up at my door telling me to get dressed, he had a surprise. I didn’t mention that the afternoon before I had enough dental work done to keep me in a Percocet induced fetal position. I couldn’t resist the lure of a surprise.
Soon we were driving down the road, him wearing a super proud grin on his face, me trying not to drool on my shirt. An hour later, he pulled onto a gravel road with a big sign that said: Skydive Now!
He’d been listening when I’d professed my dream to jump out of an airplane.
He was extremely pleased with himself, so I wasn’t about to say no. I was even a good sport when I found out at 6’3”, 230 pounds, he was too big to jump tandem, so we had to go solo with a static line. This means you essentially hang off the airplane wing for a five second count and then let go. As you plummet to the ground, someone pulls on a cord that pops your chute open. To prepare you in case anything goes wrong, you first take a five-hour course on how to problem solve as you’re flailing to earth all alone.
By the time we’d finished the course, my Percocet had worn off, I twitched with hunger and my jaw throbbed. The pilot had a distant look on his face, and I babbled, making small talk like I do when I’m nervous. We were just about to get on the plane and I said jokingly, “Hey, nobody’s ever died doing this, right?”
The pilot paled and replied, “Last week a guy’s chute didn’t open.”
I turned to the instructor and he nodded, but shooed me onto the plane and said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to open your chute. You’ll be fine.”
I really liked future hubs. He was the coolest guy I’d ever met. I didn’t want him to see me as a big wimpy chicken, so I sucked it up, put on my yeah-I-got-this face and I jumped. Freefalling was terrible. Wind slapped against my body, I had no sense of control, for once my mind emptied of all thought. Then the chute opened and my world slowed. Everything was beautiful.
Years later I asked him what he was thinking before I leaped out of the plane. He said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t jump, so I wouldn’t have to.”
Falling in love is like jumping out of an airplane. You must have faith your partner will jump too. You have to believe you won't get hurt. You literally throw caution to the wind. I think this is why we love romance novels. We love to recapture those first few moments, right after we jump, where the world is still and quiet and perfect and you're free-falling with the coolest guy you’ve ever met.
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