My brother and I had always been close growing up. We rarely fought over anything even as teenagers. My father wasn’t around much, so my only father figure was my brother. Since he was two years older than me, I idolized him as the man of the house.
My brother never married for some reason. He was a bit of an adventurer. He traveled the world to exotic locations doing amazing things. Safaris in Africa, base jumping from the top of Sears Tower, and deep sea diving near the Great Barrier Reef, my brother would always tell me of a new adventure with every visit. I always played it safe, having married my college sweetheart, getting an office job, and having two children. I had been sky diving a few times, but I never really could understand why he insisted on putting his life on the line every chance he could.
Whenever my brother would visit in September he would tell me of a new amazing adventure he had. We would all hang in every word he said. Our lives seemed so boring in comparison. With each visit he would get me to participate in one of his adventures. They usually couldn’t hold a candle to the things he had done, but it was more about him sharing a small part of his life with me.
On his last visit he wanted to go sky diving again. Since I had been a few times already, I agreed without hesitation. We loved the view of the changing trees from miles above the Earth. It is so serene up there. One could almost forget all about their troubles floating gently above the planet’s surface.
A first time jumper can be easily unnerved standing at the door. My brother, ever the professional adventurer, had no problem as he fell waving goodbye to me in free fall. I jumped only a second after him and we met in air for a high five. The exhilaration of the air violently wiping across our jump suits was near deafening, but the beauty of ground below was more breath taking than the fall. Shades of orange, red, and purple caress the landscape as though painted on with some magnificent brush. It almost saddens me to have to come back down.
As I pulled my cord I realize something is wrong, I’m not slowing down. I look up to see my lines tangled together. The parachute was half open causing me to twist and turn. I could not open my secondary chute with the primary like this. As I pulled the primary release, nothing happened. I begin yanking and tugging, but to no avail. My body began turning in a circular motion as my chute fights against gravity. With the surface approaching quickly I grabbed my knife, but the constant spinning prevented me from positioning my arm to cut the cord. I looked up and saw my brother gracefully descending above me. As I reach for him I hit the ground, the last thing I hear is a bone shattering crunch before everything went black.
At least, that’s what I hope my brother saw as he fell. If only my wife had not left her email open last month, if only her frequent business trips were someplace else other than where he was, and if only my brother did not insist on sharing everything, perhaps I would not have tied his chute to the cord. As I sit drinking coffee staring at the changing trees of fall, my wife lay in our bed gasping for air from the gapping slice in her neck. My, what a beautiful fall.
Written by Demuerto