19 February 2006

Water sports


I am scarred for life.
The mini-bus picked me up in the morning and within 10 minutes it was packed with fellow rafters. I was unfortunate enough to sit next to Agatha, the frumpy, dirty-blonde German girl. Her red, rosy cheeks heavily contrasted against a canvass of pale, veiny skin. Her manner was innocent enough, but I could tell there was a glimmer of evil in those hollow blue eyes. And her perfectly circular head proved she was more than a mere miracle of survival, but also a prime specimen of geometry. Her mouth was dwarfed by the sheer magnitude of her head, yet when she smiled it seemed like she had twice as many teeth as a normal human.

"I did bungy from one-hundred and tirty-seven meeters! Seven meeters is nutting," she bragged with confidence. She spoke slowly and deliberately, as if she were getting used to her new ability to phonate. I’ve done dis, I’ve done dat, blah blah blah, moo moo moo. I started to visually trace the veins on her leg down to her sixth toe to get my mind off her blather.

We reached the raft site. My helmet was carving a groove into my forehead; my vest was so tight I think it fractured my rib-cage and caused my lungs to collapse; and my special rafting shoes were so loose that my feet were flopping around like a clown's. And if all that make me feel uncomfortable, Agatha sat behind me in the raft. I don’t trust anyone whose eyes don’t blink in unison.

We spent ten minutes training: how to sit, how to paddle in unison, where to hold on, where to place oars during rapids. We got onto the water and Agatha immediately started clanging oars with me as she paddled the air delicately out of time.
We paddled furiously down the Grade 5 rapids – the most difficult on the grading scale without prior training. Clang, clang, clang. We reached the 7m waterfall. I was psyched. I secretly hoped to capsize. Firstly, it would make things more fun; secondly I wanted to see whether Agatha would melt in the water. We assumed the position, placed our oars beside us and successfully traversed the falls. Damn!

Ouch! Something long and hard was up my arse. It was Agatha... or rather her oar. She had been holding her oar like a rabbit holding chopsticks, and through the commotion of the waterfall she managed to forcefully insert it under my rear. We pressed on. Agatha continued to paddle the air. Clang, clang, clang, slice. Agatha managed to slice my left bicep half a centimeter deep with her oar. It’s a deep cut. Two weeks on and it’s still healing.

We ended the course. I got out of the raft and briskly, walked ahead of Agatha with great trepidation as she casually waddled behind me. I am scarred for life – mentally and physically. Every time I flex my muscles and kiss my bicep in self-adoration I will remember Agatha and her taste for blood.

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