My cousin caught me in a weak moment on a day I felt good - and once I'd said yes, I was screwed. I couldn't back out at that point, so why ask the doctor if my death was imminent or merely a possibility? Some things are better left unknown.
And so it was that my soft spot for Daryl and my inability to admit to poor judgment led me to the precipice last Saturday.
Paul and I stood with him at the edge of the hole in the ice, the three of us with linked hands and fluttering hearts, the wind like icy knives. It was two degrees below zero, but if we were going to die a frozen death, we'd go out holding hands and knowing that we were loved.
Except that at the last minute, Daryl released my hand and briefly had
second thoughts - about either loving us or jumping in the 33-degree water.
Or possibly both.
He mustered the gumption, though, and I love the look on his face as
his legs hit the water and he realizes what he's done.
People asked what it felt like but I can't really tell you. I wasn't there.
When my body hit that water, I left this world. I didn't feel pain then, because I'm pretty certain I died. My legs buckled and I went under (which was NOT part of the plan) and when I came back up I was astonished to realize I was blind. Or maybe my eyelashes had frozen together.
All I knew was that I needed time to think about it and what better time than the present? So I stood there in the frigid water, leisurely contemplating a life of blindness. Paul pulled me out before the medics could. He said I was just standing there with a dazed look on my face. I don't remember that. Or the people. Or the cameras.
But I absolutely remember the numbing pain of getting out of icy water into the windchill of ten below zero. All that pain that I couldn't feel? In the water? By golly, here it was!
It was worth it, though, right?
It was for a good cause, right?
Once warmed and dried, the trauma behind us, I swelled like a peacock and thanked my cousin for inviting me to be a part of his special day. I asked how he decided to select me for the task.
My pride was popped faster than a soap bubble when Daryl admitted he'd invited damn near everyone he's ever met.
"Nobody else was crazy enough to say yes."