Three deep breaths, rotate shoulders, toes over the edge. It’s sharper than he remembered, cold and slightly wet and he feels almost off balance. A few strands of hair stick to his cheek but he leaves them there preferring to keep his concentration. He zones out any extraneous sounds too, years of practice means his mind can fly free, existing separately from the day to day noises that too often blighted his life before. The sky is the lightest of blue, a few wisps of cloud in the far distance.
How often has he stepped onto this spot? Not enough. A place he’s enjoyed, a feeling he’s craved, just one more time. An addiction almost, the ultimate rush, but it’s been years since he was last here. Adrenaline ceased to be his drug of choice a long time ago but now he can feel it, goose-bumps on his arms, the hairs on his neck standing to attention, his heart pounding, his breaths shortening, beads of sweat running down his back. The anticipation producing as much of a thrill as the doing.
Jamie didn’t come with him preferring to remain in the car so it’s just him and Daniel, brothers in arms, always egging each other on, higher, faster. Only today Daniel is a spectator, he’s doing this alone.
Arms outstretched, a minor adjustment to his position and he launches himself. The dive is perfect, the angle into the sea spot on. He even sees a shoal of fish disperse as he swims to the surface. It’s done, it’s over and he’ll never do it again.
‘How was that?’ says the enthusiastic instructor as he hands her the virtual reality headset, ‘As good as the real thing? Your friend said you were a cliff diving champion before…well you know, before.’
‘Before I was in this wheelchair? Yes, I was.’
‘Ready to go mate?’ Daniel says when he spins the chair around.
‘Yes, ready to go. Just needed to complete the even ten, even if it’s virtual. 150 feet? Piece of cake. Come on, Jamie’s waiting.’
©Nita Lewsey 2019