There is such a rush. The air comes at you, beating your face. All I’d thought about when I was standing up there on the roof was the hard steel of the pavement and what it would do to my face. But now I’ve actually launched, I’m amazed at the windburn I can feel on my cheeks.
The view is something, I can’t believe how much I notice – a man in one of the flats opposite putting his washing out, an office worker pulling down a blind just behind me, blotting me out.
It’s dizzying and my ear pops. I don’t know why, but I always assumed I’d sweep straight down, arms by my side like a human torpedo. I feel cheated. I’d assumed that if I could kick my fear of death I could focus on the sheer rush of the journey and the view. But, in fact, you start to somersault, which makes sense I suppose, it’s where the butter-side-up rule comes from after all. I hope I don’t land butter side up. Although I do panic about my fragile nose. Funny really, given that I obviously don’t give a monkey’s about my skull, or my femurs, my kidneys or my heart; all about to be broken.
The somersaults are dizzying, each a stomach-churning nauseous flip. The rush of the air against my bared teeth is almost painful, yet I’m so bamboozled it barely registers. The view is twisted, mundane, catastrophic and other-worldly all at the same time. I can see the peeling paint on window frames, the bursting bin bags strewn on the rapidly approaching tarmac, and all the time feel the utter helplessness of my hands and feet that are used to gripping and grabbing, planting themselves firmly, twisting at the ankle to keep me in a good place. And now they are just dead weights, splayed out and slightly slowing my rapid progress.
So comes the dreadful somersault. It’s all so fleeting and there are so many things I want to say. I once heard an eyewitness of a similar fall say that everything that came out of the body was green. But I don’t think that will be true of me, if it was ever true at all. I don’t like to think of shattered bone, I want to think of myself only as floating into the ground, passing into peace.