"Okay, we've got one minute until we jump. Just remember what I've told you and have fun!" The head instructor shouted over the din of the wind blasting through the open door in the side of the plane. Looking out, the blond-haired young man could see the clouds leisurely floating past in the distance as the aircraft glided across the sky.
"Come on!" The instructor signaled to the first person standing on the closed side of the plane. He looked young, a teenager at most, his eyes wide with apprehension. A sudden rush of reluctance had swept over him as he realized he was about to jump from ten thousand feet in the air. After a few steps forward, he leaned and looked over the edge. After a number of seconds and goading from the instructor that was going to jump with him, he backed up and ran out the opening, zipping down and to the right from the perspective of the people in the plane. Matt watched as the kid and the instructor disappeared from sight, trying to reassure himself why he was about to do this.
"To remember; I have to do this to remember." Matt was next in line and hesitantly took two large steps across the plane from the line of people who seemed to be almost magnetically stuck to the closed side of the plane, except for one man who was eagerly sitting on the edge of his seat towards the end of the line. He remembered the new world that awaited him back home and the new responsibilities that had been one of the few things to surprise and obviously shock his normally cool demeanor. Sure, becoming a father was an infinite joy, but jarring none the less.
"Just make sure you keep an eye on me so you'll know when to release your parachute!" The instructor yelled as loud as he could, but also used various hand signals to try and get his message across, pointing to his eyes, his chest, and then his chute. Matt understood and dived out the plane, falling headfirst.
The rush was phenomenal. Matt felt out of control, hurdling towards the ground headfirst, but tilted just so slightly that he was facing the sky above him and not the earth below. He had never bungee jumped in his life, let alone skydive, but the feeling was all too familiar.
"TK..." Matt could visualize the memory of what he saw and felt in that cold, damp cave from so long ago. Only it hadn't felt like a cave to him—it felt like falling. It was like he was out of control, speeding up exponentially with nothing to safely slow him down; blazing towards the oblivion below that he couldn't see. He could only see where he had been, not where he was going.
"I couldn't do anything to protect you. I couldn't be a good brother. Tai was always better with you than I was..." He could hear himself chanting as he fell—faster, faster, faster. He couldn't see what was rushing up to meet him, nothing to tell him he was about to come to an end if he didn't do anything.
"I'm the one that needed you. I always had to be the strong one, the cold one... like nothing bothered me, when everything did."
Faster, faster, faster...
"I was so afraid that something bad would happen to us; that you'd turn out like me. I was trying to save you... but I really wanted to save me..."
Faster, faster, faster...
"I just wanted somebody to care."
"Matt! I care! Wake up!" Matt opened his eyes and could see Gabumon standing beside him, about eye-level with Matt as he sat.
"I'm your friend! I care! You don't have to be afraid of anything! Tai isn't TK's brother, you are, and you've been a great brother! You've just got to fight it!" Matt smiled.
"Thanks Gabumon, you're a true friend."
"Hey kid, wake up!" Matt could now hear a new voice, faint in the distance. It took a second for it to register. "Wake up! You have to pull your chute now!!!" Matt snapped back to reality, realizing that he was still free-falling through the atmosphere. Matt opened his eyes back up, receding from the memory and rolled over in the air, seeing the ground rushing up towards him. He quickly pulled the chute and felt the air filling into it jerk him gracefully back. He looked down below and saw the ground—much closer now.
"Woah, what's that?" The memory continued, but only as a faint echo in his ears.
"That's what was around you."
"That's the darkness of my heart, that's what I've been carrying around this whole time." He remembered how big that big, black blot in the cave had been. Even in a world of desolation, absence of color and life, that consolidation of darkness had stood out menacingly. It hadn't taken long for the cave to dissipate after that.
Matt looked down at the world below him, bristling with activity. Just a moment before that massive rock had been set to be his demise, but now as he slowly, safely approached its grandeur; it was no longer a threat.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" The instructor was gliding down nearby, parachute open.