Flashes of inspiration and feelings of inadequacy are overwhelming. Total focus leading to a complete knowledge that I am embracing an instant of true unknown although I do know what’s meant to happen. I understand the physics, I’ve even felt it before, seen but never quite known where to look, experienced the mix of sensations but not understood which feelings to heed and which to set aside.

There’s a deep inward beauty of heading directly, vertically up – away from the pull of the earth and all its commands, stresses and woes. Here we are pulling away, leaving it all behind, just waiting fearfully, excitedly, lusting for the turmoil of the fall back down.

This is what I came here for, to feel this – not to understand the emotions of the aeroplane but to see them, feel them. The power, aggression and incomprehensible forces are all around me, engulfing me. The straps hold me to my fate, our wings producing no lift, the thrust gradually all fading. Sailing upward on inertia alone, knowing that momentarily we will be free from all of earth’s forces, free from our own. For a tiny moment all we are is a flash in existence, nothing holding us aloft, nothing pulling us down.

The illusion lingers longer with me than it does with her, she can feel the pull of gravity, she knows no control because I hold her rigid, trying to hold us there just a few moments longer, I know the fall back to earth is imminent and I fear it and thrill to it all at the same time. This is what I wanted to see, what I needed to feel. I wanted to stop everything, escape everything, be at peace. I wanted to feel the thrill of the world regaining me, I needed to feel out of control in order to regain it. Those moments, falling backward through the fading sky to be plucked violently back into reality are moments of total numb confusion.

The punch as we flip back to face the earth, the laws of physics wresting control back from me with the strength of nothing I ever imagined leaves me breathless and staring in awe, the world an array of light all around me, moving, changing, the horizon no longer the stalwart certainty it should be. Instinct brings us back to flight, our wings once again providing the lift to which we are so accustomed.

The intoxication is complete, we left the world behind and felt the brutal force of return, emotions keyed higher than ever before. I can’t help but laugh the laugh of the pure, smile the smile of someone who has felt the weight of reality suddenly snapped back into balance from the sagging position it had held on her shoulder for so long. The hit, the punch, the belt to the body and soul of the airflow returning to its normal flow across us had an exhilaration all of its own.