He jumps. The air seems to pass through his body with no resistance, as if he has become a part of the ether itself. It's not terrifying. It's just a way to release the things that build up inside his head and his chest during the long work week. It's not like flying, either, because it takes no concentration. He just closes his eyes and lets gravity take over, all in a rush. It's as easy as lying down in bed at night. He trusts the harness around his hips and cables attached to bridge to hold on as he lets go.
Takaki only gets to jump on weekends, if the weather is good. Once, twice, maybe three times a month if he's lucky and his grandmother doesn't need help and it doesn't thunderstorm isn't enough. He can feel the pressure build up with every breath he sucks in, chest heaving as he sprints to the subway entrance most mornings to begin his 1.5 hour commute. He can feel it accumulate under his tongue and under his fingernails every time he holds his breath and counts to ten, slowly, backwards, waiting for his apoplectic manager to run out of steam raging over a jammed copy machine or a mislabeled slide deck. The pressure is always there, throbbing beneath his skin in counterpoint to his pulse. It's always there, except when he's in free fall.
"Isn't it scary?" Yui had asked him once. Takaki can reduce the sensation of falling to something mentally contained, that's how he explained it to his sister. Besides the rush of air past his limbs, the effects of the altitude change register in the mind. He closes his eyes against the vertigo as his senses lose control of his balance. The popping in his inner ears, the adrenaline tightening his veins and tensing his muscles, and the blankness that flows in to replace his thoughts -- these take over and his body seems to dissipate on the way down.
In the meantime, on the in between days and weeks when he can't make it out to Gunma or Shizuoka for a jump, Takaki jumps with his mind. Sitting in his office chair with a wrapped bento box in front of him on his desk he closes his eyes. He feels the tightness of the harness gripping his hips instead of the sharply creased slacks he wears to work. He feels his heart beating in his throat as he looks down at the glint of water far below. He takes a breath and jumps, his feet in polished leather shoes planted on the tile floor of the office and his head rushing through meters of fresh air towards the water below. He waits for the jerk of the cord, the pull of the harness, and the moment of weightless just after.
Once or twice or three times a month, if Takaki is lucky, isn't enough. But jumping with his mind helps him get through the day and then the stretch of overtime from evening into darkness. It's almost like a prayer, and when he opens his eyes the pressure has dissipated just enough for Takaki to pick up his chopsticks and open his lunchbox. Just enough to get through the next day, and then the next, waiting for his next encounter with the bridge and the air and freedom.
thesockmonster your turn!