Note: None of the names used in this story belong to actual people. This is completely realistic fiction. Also yay, formatting didn't transfer! Excuse how bad it looks. So yeah, thanks for reading and any feedback you can give would be greatly appreciated by me.
So there I was, staring down at the canopy of treetops, wondering how I had gotten to this point. Let me back up a bit. For summer vacation, my family decided to go to Brazil. While there we, of course, decided to see the Amazon rainforest. My parents let me invite along my best friend, Sophia Parker. Sophia got this “great” idea that we should zipline over the Amazon. I thought it was a good idea too, at first. Now I’m up on the platform, in a large harness, and listening to the operator telling us what to do if something goes wrong, trying not to add some more green to the treetops.
“Sophia, I’m not so sure about this,” I whisper as the operator continues talking. Sophia glares at me, hands on her hips.
“Kira Ann Smith, you are not going to chicken out on me again. I will push you off myself if I have to,” Sophia says forcefully. By this time the operator has finished her warnings and gone to find the tether.
“When have I ever chickened out on you?” I ask, bewildered and insulted that she could even think that. In response, I get an elbow to my ribs.
“Two years ago, river rafting in Yellowstone. You got scared at how fast the water was going and refused to leave the bank.” I try to protest that I was eleven, but she cuts me off. “Last year, Colorado, you got so scared about riding the horse that you just stayed in the gift shop until we got back.” Again, I attempt to state that the hill they were climbing was very muddy and slippery, but Sophia plunders on in her barrage of accusation. “Last week, you got so scared that you couldn’t eat the Jalapeño pepper.” Wincing, I look away. I have no explanation for that one.
Sophia smirks at me and points at me as the operator comes back with the tethers. As she hooks me up first, I gulp as I look down at the treetops. It’s a long way. Sophia gives me thumbs up and mouths that she’ll be right behind me.
“Just hold on to the tether rope and relax,” the operator says, smiling at me. “Once you get to the other platform, someone will grab the rope hanging from the harness and slow you down. It may be a little bumpy, so try to stay still.” She steps away, repeating the same thing to Sophia, who’ll go after me. Sophia draws her finger across her neck. I gulp. I know fully well that she’ll push me if I don’t go myself. Stepping to the edge of the platform, I take a deep breath. I try not to look at the ground beneath my feet or hear the chatter of birds that will soon increase. Looking back, the operator gives me a thumbs up to proceed, and Sophia smiles. Closing my eyes, I step off the platform.
The screech of metal on metal seems deafening, and I’m gripping the lower part of the tether rope so tightly I’m sure my knuckles are white. Oh, why oh why did I decide to do this? I attempt to calm myself by taking a deep breath. The air is very humid, and I have to take breath after breath of the hot tropical air. Though it seems odd, I feel certain I detect a scent of mangos, and it calms me down slightly. Though it feels like hours have passed, I’m sure it was less than a minute. Taking a deep breath, I slowly open my eyes.
The world around me isn’t the same one I saw on the platform. The sky and forest blend in a kaleidoscope of color; I can’t tell which way is which. Daring to look down, I am so amazed I forget to be scared of how high up I am. The colorful birds of paradise and the New World monkeys seem to paint a scene right out of Indiana Jones, with their melodious music and graceful movement.
Suddenly I see wood beneath my feet, and the tether jerks to a stop. I gaze around, largely disoriented. Looking up, I see another operator holding onto my tether, mildly annoyed. She must be used to dazed tourists though, as she lets me rest for a few moments. Setting my feet down, I try to stand and walk away from the edge for when Sophia comes, but the operator gently guides me to a set of chairs that I hadn’t noticed before. Gosh, I must not have drunk enough water before this.
Untethering me, the operator continues to stand as I try to recall every moment from stepping off the first platform to ending on this one, but as the adrenaline rush fades all I feel is exhausted. With a thud, I look up and see Sophia stumbling to gain her balance on the platform, wearing a glazed expression that I’m sure is matched on my face.
“Pretty cool, huh?” Sophia whispers distantly, flopping down in the chair next to me. I can only nod in response, still trying to commit the experience to my long-term memory, and I sense that Sophia is doing the same. After a few minutes of restful silence-as much silence as in a rainforest anyways-the operator comes over to us. I hurriedly stand up and so does Sophia as the guide motions for us to follow her to climb down.
I look at Sophia and she looks back. “T-t-thank you for not letting me chicken out,” I say, not being able to translate into words how much the experience meant to me. She smiles as if sensing what I couldn’t convey.
“Anytime, Kira,” Sophia says, following the guide towards the rope to climb down. I turn and take one last look at the horizon line of the setting sun, which casts long shadows over the green canopy. I will never forget this moment.
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