Risky Ropes

February 3, 2013
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Do you know that feeling when you are drifting off to sleep and feel like you’re falling? Then, you suddenly jerk awake. Have you ever experienced that feeling for longer than a second? I have, and it wasn’t pretty. But then again, I suppose it really was my fault.
It was the middle of June and I was in Zimbabwe with my two cousins, Diana and Caitlyn. On the flight over, Diana clutched her armrests for dear life. Caitlyn had her seat back and was sipping Diet Coke from a coffee stirrer. We, well, Caitlyn and I, decided it would be fun to bungee jump off a bridge at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe (Diana was a nervous wreck). When we got there, a few guys were standing by a red pickup truck with hanging ropes attached. It looked secure enough. Hey, what could go wrong?
Diana was teetering from side to side and biting her nails. Caitlyn was grinning, but I could tell by her wide eyes that she was scared too.
Caitlyn and Diana were too chicken to get hitched up, so I went first. I noticed that the harness was slightly fraying at the sides while I slipped into it. My heart was racing with excitement. I stood at the edge looking down at the greenish water. Wow... that’s a pretty far drop, I thought. I drew a deep breath and felt my feet lift off the ground. The wind rushed in my ears. My stomach dropped. The water was growing nearer, and I thought I saw splashing below.

SNAP! I flew to the side, dangling by my left foot. The cord had snapped. I felt blood rushing to my head and the rope tightening around my ankle, threatening to amputate my foot. I heard shouting and screaming above. I saw movement in the river. A snout emerged, followed by a reptilian body. The crocodile’s teeth snapped inches away from my face.

Okay, now I was freaking out. There was so much pressure on my ankle, it was unbearable. Then, I heard it crack. Pain erupted and a white light flashed before my eyes. After what felt like a million years, I began rising slowly. The movement was jerky, and shortly after I began ascending, I felt my knee pop out of place. I screamed and blacked out.
I woke up in a hospital bed. My leg was elevated in a sling. I shifted in the bed, my sore muscles resisting. Diana was outside of the room, speaking with a doctor. Caitlyn was snoozing on a table. Her face was squashed flat on the table, and I knew when she woke up there would be deep impressions in her cheek. I chuckled to myself and sighed. I suppose I was lucky to have escaped a bungee jumping accident with only a broken ankle and a dislocated knee.

...And to have such a caring family.

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