When I was a baby in the Philippines, my dad would pass my room as he went off to work in the mornings and hear me singing to myself in my crib. Even now, when I have a little too much inside to safely hold there, I'll sing to let the valve open a bit.
Today, I sang myself from canopy check all the way to the ground. Twice.
So much has changed, so quickly.
It's amazing to me how different the door looks, first of all. On that very first jump, shoved back against my tandem pilot with my fingers grazing the good Doctor's shoulder in a silent, slightly embarrassed bid for encouragement, the door looked like the period at the end of a sentence. I mused on the apparent flimsiness of its scuffed-but-rather-clear plastic. I watched smoke curling up from the hundreds of little fires on the far-below African landscape, felt the unfamiliar tug of webbing around my legs, and nudged myself forward like a woman possessed. I remember watching the etched quietude of my companion's face as he glanced behind him to check our position in the plane, and the not-quite-half-smile he flashed me as he rolled out into the void. I watched the wind take him. I followed.
Now, the door becomes a picture frame for an expressionist portrait of myself. When I leap and arch, I'm looking at the feathered tips of wings that only I can see; wings that spring strong from my shoulderblades. As I slide down to press the softness of my stomach into the breath of the earth, I feel her reaching for me - snaking fingers along my neck to rustle my hair, curling around my waist and thighs, tickling my palms. When I flip, I feel her catch me. When I turn, she grabs my hands and dances along. When I pull, she plays with me like a marionette, and I'm a beautiful doll spinning in a sky full of beautiful dolls, spinning.
Other people seem to enjoy jumping with each other. I see them planning complicated manouevers, rolling kiddishly around on their boards, grabbing and releasing and skidding to and fro.
Where I am right now, the complicated games seem needless - I have so little time with her, and I don't want to share it.