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I watched as his cell phone flashed, the screen of the small, light gray device turning green, and knew it was time. Making my way to the door, I unlocked it and slid it open. I looked out to the world beyond, studied the clouds, smelled the air as it whipped across my face, and without turning back, jumped.

I fell from the plane like a current suddenly plunged downwards as it reached a waterfall. A joyful sense of freedom took me over, filled me, and I let myself bask in the sunlight that I was falling away from. But remembering my task, I turned my attention back to the real matter at hand, my feat. I was a stuntman, performing what one might call moronic acts of idiocy, doing things that probably didn’t really need to be done. And yet I did them because I wanted to fascinate people, wanted them to recognize me, to idolize me as one who could muster the courage to do things that they had never dreamed of. I was descending, plummeting towards the Earth below, headed towards the volcano of which I was going to land on the lip, the edge of the hole that led into its fiery belly. It was an active volcano that sat on the outskirts of the Hawaiian Islands and as I descended below the clouds, I heard screams of fearful joy ring out from the landing zone below, the cries of my team. The island sat below me like a golden-framed portrait outlined by the yellow beach. Towards the center of the small, oblong stretch of land, was a vast green jungle defined by thick, emerald trees and in the midst of all this vegetation stood an enormous volcano, a mountainous landform defined by the wide, circular gap that represented all that was visible from my perspective.

Even though I was sure that no one below could see me, I reached out an arm, giving an arrogant thumb’s up to my team below. The air grew more intense as I fell, began to beat my face backwards. The rippling sound of the passing expanse beat through my ears like a whipping drum roll and suddenly, I could hear nothing. I began to swirl back, remember the fear that had once consumed me, recall the pain of not knowing what crashing was like, an injury that I still did not wish to understand. As I drew closer to the ground, I deployed my parachute, being buoyed upwards in a sudden rush of support as the enormous, blue chute spread out and caught the wind, holding me in midair for a second. I began to veer away from the volcano, carried by a fear of falling in, of winding up a meal for the devil that lurked inside of it.

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