Lush green leaves dance above my head. I step on to the wooden platform in front of me. Voices swarm in my mind. You can’t do this! You’re going to die!
I take a deep breath and listen as the camp leader tells me what to do. “When I hear the command, I’m going to open the gate and you’re going to walk as far back as you can. Then you will run and jump off the ledge.” He proceeds to clip my harness into the pulley. I stare at the raging river below and the long wire that seems to stretch out forever.
“Clear!“ The voice rings out from below. The gate creaks open.
“Whenever you’re ready,” the instructor says.
I back up then feel my feet pound the ground as I run. I jump, gripping the rope as hard as I can. I feel myself falling, getting closer and closer to the swirling water below. Something has gone wrong, I know it. Then, amazingly, the ropes jerk and I’m flying through the air. The butterflies in my stomach escape and a new feeling creeps in. One too good to describe. I whizz past green, blue and yellow, blurring together. Round black rubbery objects come into sight. Tyres! The pulley and the tyres make contact and I’m flung high into the clouds. The next thing I know, I’m flying back along the path of the river. A rumble shakes the wire and my gaze drifts down to see a boat splashing along the churning water. A hand clasps my leg and I feel myself begin to slow down. The hand gives a tug and I’m lowered into the boat.
“How was that?“ Jenny, another camp leader, asks me.
“Amazing,“ I breathe.
“I’m glad,“ Jenny laughs. Tom and Claire, who went before me, are chit-chattering away.
“Did you enjoy that?“ Claire asks as my pulley is detached.
“Of course! That was amazing,“ I say, beaming with pride.
“Clear!” Jenny shouts. A scream pierces my ears and we see a terrified-looking Helen in the distance.
Tom laughs. “Happens every time.”
“Did I scream?” I ask.
”Well… no… but…” He stumbles for an answer.
“Oh, come on Tom. She looked like she was having the time of her life,” Claire nudges him.
“Well, I was a bit scared at first,” I admit.
“We all were,” replies Claire.
The boat shifts a bit and we turn to see Helen being tugged in. As she is unclipped, we ask her how it was. “It was sooooo much fun. I wasn’t scared at all,” she says. Claire and I roll our eyes at each other. Typical Helen. She always has to be better and smarter than everyone else.
“Well, the boat’s full now. Let’s head back to camp. I’ll drop you off and then come back for more students,” Jenny explains.
The engine roars and we speed along the rolling water, back to the campground. Tiny water droplets splash me and I realise what I’ve done. I have conquered the flying fox.