On Watching Someone Else's Near-Death Experience

We are on the mountain. Well, the point. The Poo Poo Point. I'm grabbing his elbow because I'm a grabber like that. Always making contact, always gently reminding "I'm here, we're here, we're alive right now and isn't it exciting?"

The paraglider is getting zipped up. A few hikers have gathered, god knows how high up we all are. It's performance art in the middle of nowhere. A small sweaty surprise audience.

I'm grabbing his elbow, "We're going to see the jump!" 

The suit, the gear, the pack, straightening the strings of the chute. Turns, back to the edge of the cliff. Facing us all. Takes a step. Inhale.

"Is this it? Is he just going to fall backward? Is this it?" Squeeze tighter.

And then the slowdown of a moment, the strings become tangled, the utterance of a disgruntled this-is-not-how-my-canopy-was-supposed-to-be-set-up groan, the wing flying overhead and the human out of sight, dipped below and no one is altogether yet certain if we are witnessing a death.

"Oh my god."

It all stops. 

"Oh my god."

And then. One one thousand two one thousand three one thousand, feels like a true one thousand seconds until suddenly, the human is airborne and flying towards the sun. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. It is okay.