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(missed):  The privilege? Oh, the privilege!  Because Instructor, I have a sincere desire to learn to jump, a great need that is unfulfilled.  I burn with it, it fills my every pore, my every sleeping moment and my every waking dream.  I beg you to allow me to be your student.  I will  work hard and learn quickly under your tutelage and your fuselage.  I will pay excruciating attention to your instruction so that I earn your approval.
^Mr. Me^:  Describe yourself.
(missed):  Im very even tempered, but sometimes I’m inclined to get a little moody.  But I do have a lot of stress in my life.
^Mr. Me^:  I meant physically.
(missed):  Ahh, sorry, Instructor.  I’m 5′ 3″ tall and 132 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.
^Mr. Me^:  Very good.   Let us begin our lesson.
We are waiting in the belly of the plane as it flies, feeling the vibration of the propellers.  What are you wearing?
(missed):  I am wearing a deep blue jumpsuit that is a little bit too tight and chafes my skin.  But I don’t notice because I am thinking only about the jump.  The black strapped harness irritates my thighs.  I can’t look you in the eye, for fear of what’s going to happen, and I am just waiting on your word for what to do next, Instructor.
^Mr.Me^:  Very good.  The pilot signals me that we are at our altitude over the jumpsite.  I motion for you to stand.
(missed):  My breath catches in my throat and I can’t swallow.  Knees trembling, I stand and come over to you.
^Mr. Me^:  I look you deep in the eyes as I open the hatch.  I am hoping you will remember all that I’ve taught you.
(missed):  Slowly I turn away from your gaze and look out of the hatch.  All I see is sky.
^Mr. Me^  I check your altimeter one last time, tapping it with my fingertip.  I give you a slow smile.
(missed):  I feel such trust in you, that I do not even need to look at it myself, Instructor.
^Mr.Me^:  The pilot has signaled again.  I look out of the hatch to get my bearings.  Then I motion for you to jump.
(missed):  Suddenly I can’t.  My knees feel frozen.  My heart is in my mouth and pounding so loudly that surely the whole world will hear it.  I feel sick and think I can’t do it.
^Mr. Me^:  Yes, you can.  You will be alright.
(missed):  I can’t, Instructor.  I am afraid. 
^Mr. Me^:  It is natural to be afraid.  You are doing something that is death-defying, and yet you need this.  Your whole being wants it and rebels against it at the same time.  But you will experience things you have never experienced before, and done something you will never forget.  Give me your hand.
(missed): I hold my small hand out to yours.
^Mr. Me^:  I take your hand in mine and ask you to trust me.  Do it for me.
(missed):  Yes, yes, I will trust you.  I give you a brave smile and nod to show you I am ready.
^Mr. Me^:  We step out of the hatch together.
(missed): YYAARRRRGGGHHHH
(missed):  I can’t help but scream as I fall.
^Mr. Me^: I hear your screaming over the rushing wind and give your hand a squeeze as we fall away from the plane, plummeting.
(missed):  I stop screaming.  The wind takes my breath.  My eyes are frozen open, watching the ground far below through my goggles.  The wind buffets around loudly.
^Mr. Me^:  I squeeze your hand to get your attention.
(missed):  I look up at you with an inquiring gaze.  What do you want, Instructor?
^Mr. Me^:  I am going to let go of your hand.
(missed):  No, no!  I shake my head.  Please do not, please do not!   I am not ready.  I will not remember to open my chute!  I will lose my orientation and spin out of control!  I will black out and plunge to my death!
^Mr. Me^:  No you won’t, I promise.  I give your hand a gentle squeeze of encouragement and wait until you are ready.
(missed):  I take slow, deep breaths, then nod that I am ready.
^Mr. Me^:  Good girl.  You remembered your relaxation techniques. I let go of your hand.
(missed):  I think I am going to faint from fear.  I can not tear my eyes aware from you.  Then I look around at how incredible it is to be falling.  I am flying!
^Mr. Me^: Yes, you are flying!
^Mr. Me^:  It is time to open your chute.  I signal to you.
(missed):  I fumble for the handle, terribly afraid all of a sudden that it will not open, wondering what I would do, what it would be like.  Every emotion runs through me in a split second.  I pull the cord.
(missed):  I am jerked upward by the force as my chute fills, billowing with a loud rumble like laundry snapping on a clothesline in a storm.  It wrenches painfully under my arms.  I am afraid it will tear me apart.
^Mr. Me^:  I fall past you, then open mine too.  What color is your parachute?
(missed):  Instructor, it is green, the color of trust.  And it has bright red blotches on it that symbolize my fears.
^Mr. Me^:  You are overcoming your fears.
(missed):  I am exhilarated, and begin laughing out loud in delight.
^Mr. Me^:  We are falling into a cloud.
(missed):  The cloud swallows me up and the wind gets so loud I can’t hear my pounding heart anymore.
^Mr. Me^:  I frown.  
^Mr. Me^:  No, falling through clouds is muffled and peaceful.  It is like fog.
(missed):  Oh, yes.  Of course.  
(missed):  The cloud swallows me up and everything becomes muffled and peaceful.  I think I am floating through it.
^Mr. Me^:  Yes, we are floating.  I can not see you through the cloud, but I know you are following me.
(missed):  I feel safe with you there.  I know I will not plunge to my death with you there.
^Mr. Me^:  No you will not.  You are safe.  I am pleased that you are overcoming your fears.
(missed):  Thank you, Instructor.  
^Mr. Me^:  We are exiting the cloud.
(missed):  The ground opens up before us suddenly, the earth larger, filling our universe.  I can see the patterns on the ground of fields, and the target where we are to land.
^Mr. Me^:  I guide my chute toward the target.
(missed):  I follow you, pulling on the lines.  I think our parachutes are waltzing.  I see the top of your chute spiralling down, the ground getting larger, looming.
^Mr. Me^:  I am reaching the target area.  
(missed):  I suddenly remember to bend my knees, keeping loose when I land.
^Mr. Me^:  Good girl!  You learn well.
^Mr. Me^:  I land, knees bent so that they absorb the force and my legs do not break.  I watch you.
(missed):  The ground rushes up at me and I feel dizzy, but at the same time my senses are heightened in readiness. I flex my joints to absorb the force of landing.  I look for the exact spot my feet will land, and get ready to plant them there, focused on the ground.  I am aware of you nearby, hurriedly gathering your chute out of my way and watching me.
^Mr. Me^:  I watch you.
(missed):  My feet hit sharply, and my chute threatens to take me with it.  The force is too strong for me and I fall, remembering to roll.
^Mr. Me^:  Excellent.  Excellent. I have taught you well.
(missed):   I get up and begin gathering in my chute as it fights me.  When I have got it under my arms, limp, I look up at the sky.  I see how far I have come, how far I have fallen.  The sun is so bright it hurts my eyes.  I wonder which cloud we came through.
^Mr. Me^:  I follow your gaze, spent.
(missed):  I look at you.  I want to dance, to sing.  I want to do a football endzone celebration.  I just grin.
^Mr. Me^:  You look cute when you grin like that.  I nod, pleased, and tell you have done well.  You should be proud of your parachuting abilities.
(missed):  Thank you, Instructor.
^Mr. Me^:  You are quite welcome.
(missed):  That was wonderful
(missed):  I should like to take more lessons from you, Instructor.
^Mr. Me^:  Actually, that probably will be impossible.
(missed):  May I ask why?
^Mr. Me^:  I can only play on the computer when my wife is away.  She accepts my wanting to jump, but wouldn’t understand my need for more in this venue.  It is very frustrating, since it really is the only way I can fulfill my dream at the moment, since it costs money to take lessons and the nearest parachuting club is 80 miles away.  I am working two jobs so I can earn enough to take more lessons and then I will have both time and money to join the parachuting club.
(missed):  I see.
^Mr. Me^:  You should take lessons.  Find yourself a good instructor and join a club.
(missed):  sigh.  I explained that it is impossible right now.  When I get my divorce I hope I will be able to.
^Mr. Me^:  Have you talked to your husband about your wanting to jump?
(missed):  No, I can’t.  
^Mr. Me^:  That is a shame.  I am hoping that once I start, I will be able to interest my wife in jumping with me.  
^Mr. Me^: Well, it was very enjoyable, but I must go.  I have to get to work early.
(missed):  Goodnight

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