the Wife jumped off a cliff
The Wife was cold.
Understandable. This is because it was a clear and crisp winter’s morning. The temperature in single digits.
The Wife was exhausted.
Understandable, but less so. She’d just climbed a hill. Not Kilimanjaro or Everest, which would have been more proportional to the extent of exhaustion, but a hill. Love, if you read this, I’m sorry but it’s true.
Next, the Wife was terrified.
This might have something to do with the shear drop she was toeing. It was high and she was already strapped into her harness and tethered to the Zipline. The parallel lines stretched out over a river in the valley below over a trajectory of hundreds of metres to the ground on the other side. I was strapped in and ready to jump next to her.
I’d seen her more terrified only once in our life together. This was even a step above her reaction to frogs.
Our trusty guide for the trek up the rocky facade had just finished strapping her in, and was speaking to her in businesslike tones. All she could manage was some whimpering.
“Now, when I say go, you GO. No hesitating, no arguing, you just go.” he said. I almost guffawed thinking, yeah right, as if she’ll listen to you when she doesn’t want to do anything . . .
Her lip trembled, she squeaked.
He somehow took that as assent.
About this time I took a moment to appreciate that I was about to leap into a chasm with the Wife. I should be scared too, I remember thinking, but somehow the reality of the situation hadn’t quite dawned on me. It was because I was either too concerned or too amused at the Wife’s plight. I had no time to think about my fear.
Everything looked rather pretty from up here: the dewy and glimmering fields stretching out to the horizon; the last icy moisture fighting its doomed battle against the weak morning sun; the Wife’s white plumes of breath disappearing over the shear drop as she hyperventilated…
And off she went. I was shocked. I was flabbergasted. Oh crap, I was supposed to be with her. The guide turned to me incredulously and, as if talking to a child that simply refused to grasp the simple concept of one plus one, re-issued the instruction to me.
I scrambled off the edge lopsided and so began my descent. The bearings were screaming, my eyeballs began to freeze, but I kept them open to watch the Wife as she shrieked thirty metres ahead of me. About halfway down she went abruptly silent, but the manner with which she clung for her life to her tether inferred upon me that she’d neither fainted nor had a heart attack.
After forty seconds it was all over. We were both dangling at the bottom of the line, adrenaline already bleeding from our bloodstream and waiting for the staff to unhitch us. The Wife’s face streamed with tears. She had somewhat righted herself by the time she had her feet on the ground, although she would’ve made a sailor blush with verbal rant expostulating the existence of such a “ride”. The kids swamped her with hugs and squeals of delight.
It had been a family event with the Wife’s side of the family. I’m proud of her. After all, there’s no such thing as courage without fear.
I suppose it didn’t help that her brother had been filming the entire time with his GoPro.
On the way home she asked me if I had been scared too. I told her the raft ride across the river was the worst for me. For the Wife’s version of events, read here.
A “thank you” to Brian for the birthday gift, being that experience; Jayne for looking after the kids at the bottom, and Stuart and Tara for the fun company. So worth it.
For those interested, this venue for this was Adrenalin Addo.