Many will never know the feeling of the wind in their hair, adrenaline racing, screaming till their lungs bursts. You’ve seen it the movies, heard it in songs. I’m on top of the world and that’s where I belong. Hakuna Matata in the sky, that’s my motto. My name is Iris and I am a professional skydiver.

“You fathom a life with no future.”

“Are these results of a prestigious upbringing?”

Words of the famous, wealthy James Bennel and his trusty side kick, Cynthia.

“That’s Miss Cynthia to you,” Dad would say.

James is my father and Cynthia is his wife. Mom left at an early stage in my life and I’m not keen on finding her. This is how the life of a hopeless future started.

I practically grew up in a boarding school and it felt like I was imprisoned. I escaped a few times, but was caught at a horse stable. James, being a progressive father, hired only the most recommended shrink. The shrink diagnosed that I had a type of claustrophobia and my antisocial tendencies being a form of ochlophobia. She recommended that dad would enrol me in a public mainstream school. Although a bit reluctant at first, he did just that.

“Oh, you’re new?” she said, her crooked teeth devouring a piece of gum. “Ok, sit anywhere.”

Are teachers supposed to address students like that? Wow, this was foreign to me. Boys running around and pranking the weaker ones. Girls in designer clothes, cat walking as if they were on a runway. Oh, did I mention, no uniform. No one could say it better than, Adele, “It felt like a movie.” I had already made a label for myself on the social radar as an introverted goth.

On my way to the cafeteria, I felt a sore pain in my stomach. Some obnoxious idiot had thrown a ball at me.

“Oh, sorry baby, show me where it hurts,” he said.

He was handsome. He was what Cynthia would call a freakishly hot hunk. He touched the thin cotton covering my tummy.

I took self-defence classes and I was about to punch the daylights out of him.

“Ag, Tony I don’t think she’s interested,” a girl from my bio class said.

Tony simply quirked his lips and left.

“Tessa. And you’re?” she said.

“Iris. We’re in the same bio class,” I replied.

“I thought I recognised you from somewhere, let’s get lunch.” She was evidently more popular than I was.

I was in drama class when I was summoned by the principal. I was a bit relieved because I hated drama class.

“Ms. Bennel,” he said, “take a seat.”

“Morning sir,” I said somewhat nervously.

“Um, you have obtained excellent grades and there is student we would like you to tutor,” he said.

“Well, I’d like to help but…,” I began.

“He will be representing the school in a baseball match,” the principal interrupted.

“Ok, but…” I began again.

“You will meet in the bio class,” the principal concluded.

This felt more like a blind date rather than a tutor and student meeting. I really did not like this idea one bit. The principal consciously forced me into being the school tutor. I felt agitated by the idea.

As soon as the school bell rang I could not wait to get home. That is something I thought I would never say. I speed walked to the hallway. Just before I could make a run for it.

“Ms. Bennel,” a voice called.

“What?” I asked.

It was the touchy guy, Tony.

“Aren’t you my new tutor?” he asked.

“Um no, you’ve got the wrong Bennel,” I said quickly.

I’m not much of a chit-chat person, and around this guy I sounded even more ridiculous.

“According to Mr Parker, you’re new and…”

“Fine, fine, let’s go,” I said.

We were sitting in the class, just the two of us.

“So, what do need help with?” I asked.

“I need help finding out more about this girl,” he began.

He was glaring at me. It made me nervous. By the way, I’m not the type to get nervous.

“So, my job is to help you stalk some girl?” I asked.

“Not just any girl, she is new and mysterious,” he said.

“Ok, I’m leaving,” I said.

I stood up and started walking.
“Calculus, I need help with calculus,” he said.

I spun around and smiled. The lesson went by quickly. He was actually a very fast learner.

“I think it’s time I head home. See you on Tuesday,” I said, when we had finished our lesson.

“Wait, you tutor me and I tutor you remember,” he said.

“No, I don’t remember.”

“Come on,” he kept insisting.

“What would you teach me, anyway?”

“I’ll teach you how to live.”

All I remember is ending up in a recreational airpark, hand-in-hand with him and then it hit me, the fear of dying. We were in the clouds in a hot air balloon.

“We’re going to jump. Don’t worry I have a parachute,” he said.

“Very funny,” I said.

He just stared at me laughing. Oh snap, he was serious.

“No,” I said moving back.
“There’s no other way down.”

We carried on like this for about five minutes. I felt a warm liquid gush down my eyes. I was crying. He pulled me close to him and looked straight into my eyes.

“You can’t live in fear forever,” he said.

“You don’t even know me.”

“I know if you don’t jump with me, you’ll always live thinking what if.”

“You… um, I…” I was doing it again, stuttering.

There was something reassuring in his eyes and before I could say another word – I felt his soft lips on mine. I had never been kissed; this was the most intense yet instinctively blissful feeling.

“Let’s do this,” he said, wrapping his arms around my waist. I was at the edge.

Jumping of that balloon was by far the most stupid thing I did. I loved it so much. I pursued it as my career. Like an artist I found a criticism free space to express myself. There was nothing like the feel of it. That day I found the courage to stand up to my dad, leave my dad’s mansion, find my mother and live without fear. Rushing down and living. Looking at the world in God’s view. Do not get me wrong, it’s not the same compared to flying like a bird.

That was my “aha” moment. The moment I realised I was not destined to be a typical heiress. Fear is only a mental ordeal.


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