My medical student boyfriend looked up from the notes spread out in front of him and grinned, exposing his gums. I suppressed a sigh, trying to focus on the developmental psychology assignment I was working on.
“What?’ I said.
He’d attended a forensic pathology lecture earlier that day and he’d spent most of the evening regaling me with the grisly details.
“Do you remember that hot air balloon crash in Alice Springs that happened back in ‘89?” he asked.
I didn’t. But I nodded anyway, in a futile attempt to stop him.
Two balloons collided. One plummeted 2000 feet to the ground. Thirteen people died in what was at the time the world’s deadliest hot air ballooning accident.
“Some of them tried to jump at the last moment,” he said. “It didn’t help. Their bodies absorbed the impact through their feet. Their leg bones were shattered, and some of the victims’ femurs were even pushed up through their armpits.”
“How awful!” I said, trying to avoid the mental image. My boyfriend had been trying to talk me into going hot air ballooning in the Yarra Valley with him for months, and now he’d told me about this?
A few years later, my medical student boyfriend had turned into my doctor husband and he’d managed to persuade me to go parasailing in the Whitsundays. I was sitting beside him in a two-person harness, staring down an impossibly long rope attached to a speedboat the size of a bath toy from our height.