This is the story of how I threw myself off a building to avoid my parents. Don’t worry, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds.
The story starts in Durban, South Africa in the middle of a family holiday at Christmas time. For most people, this might sound like Heaven, but for me, Miss. Scrooge over here, it was anything but.
For me, Christmas is a time of tacky, cluttered decorations. A time to needlessly over consume the dead flesh of an innocent being. It’s when shops exploit bystanders with flashing lights and awful Christmas music. When you’re forced to spend time with people you wouldn’t hang out with any other day of the year for the sake of tradition. I need to stop complaining before I start reflecting rainbows from a prism (because I’m so white, get it? I should never make jokes again, I know). Long story short, I hate Christmas. And after spending one week with my Christmas-adoring family, tempers were high.
It was a hot day when we visited Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. We already rode a sky car to the top for a view of the city (tickets cost R60pp – equivalent to £2.75) and I decided I wanted to do the sky walk along the arch of the stadium but unfortunately, the attraction was closed due to the windy weather.We hung around for a while, hoping the wind would hold off. It eventually did. By that point, I found an excursion far better than the Sky Walk. This was the Big Swing. It includes the Sky Walk and the ultra thrilling act of throwing yourself off a 80m high balcony into the middle of the stadium grounds with nothing but a harness, all for the small cost of R695 (the equivalent of £32). Sign me up.
I was excited to befriend a new group of strangers on the way as we walked up the the arc of the stadium, even though it turned out none of them could understand my English accent (weird, right? They have the BBC in South Africa and there isn’t a soul who’s never seen Harry Potter), but at the last minute, after being pestered and teased by my Dad, my sister, Rebecca, decided to join me.I’m the sunburnt weirdo on the left. And yeah, those girls at the front were about fourteen. Thrill seeking from a young age. I approve.
“I’m only doing this to get away from him,” she told me when we reached the balcony at the top of the stadium. I thought it was hilarious that she would literally throw herself off a building to avoid spending another second with Dad.The jump itself was incredible. When you jump, there’s a split second when you expect your feet to hit the ground but they don’t and you just keep falling through the air towards the grounds. It’s indescribable but definitely something I think everyone should experience once in their lifetime.I think Rebecca was onto something when she said she wanted to do the jump to escape from our parents. It’s a solitary act and in that moment, I did feel at peace with the world. Nobody was around to influence the way I jumped, it was just me and the air and it was amazing. I should end on a positive because I did have a great experience. I don’t hate my parents. We get on well and I’m extremely lucky to have amazing family holidays like this one. But sometimes, after you’ve hung around with nobody but them for the past few weeks, you just need some time alone, you know? And yeah, I’d say jumping off a very high building is a great way to get some alone time if you need it.