SMACK! Hand slaps the pesky sand flies tempted to savour the flavour of my arm with a prompt pulverizing pound of my palm. THUD! Our truck jolts over a robust rock, startling me. Rattling like an earthquake, the wheels struggle to cope on the jaggy road while omitting a harsh noise. There’s a slight gap between the fresh morning air and myself. Enough for the thick smell of pine to linger inside and infiltrate my nose. Yet I do not mind, this distinct smell transports me to the parks and forestry back home. Somewhere I would much rather be than such an uneventful trip. Appearing out of nowhere, two fingers reach towards me, holding a stick of bright pink gum. Greedily, I snatch and place it into my mouth with delight. Strawberry bubblegum melts onto my tongue, relieving its dry emptiness and taking my taste buds to heaven. Faintly I hear the lulling sound of rolling waves approaching the rocky shore. Captivated by the soothing rushing and pulling my eyelids slowly begin to enclose. Unfortunately, I’m interrupted by Dad urging me to wind the window. We hit arrival.
Still half asleep I stumble out of the truck, my faithful Toto by my side. Despite anticipating the feeling of dread of being stuck in a boat with nothing but my parents as the company; I am glad to escape the claustrophobia of being trapped inside a stuffy truck for so long. Strangely, I gaze in awe at the untouched sheet of glass. I cannot dismiss such exquisite beauty. Sunlight dancing merrily on the surface while didymo coated rocks crowd the shoreline burrowing underground from the rushes of miniature waves. Out of nowhere, the cool morning air slaps me in the face, fully awakening me. This notifies me to the dog frolicking around the lakeside going bonkers; a bird free from its cage. A large gathering of trees stares down, eyeing their counterpart in the mirror reflection of the lake. They stand tall, stiff and are formed in linear rows. A marching band on parade. Approaching the lake with curiosity, I dabble my feet in the cool morning water -as anyone would- and am immediately invested in the cracks that start to form on the delicate sheet of glass. Soon enough the sun begins to awaken rising out of its mountain bed in a scintillating fashion. Time to set off. Before the day truly begins; we must set up. My parents heave the boat into the shallow waterfront. Whereas I observe, watching impatiently while they bicker debating whether to bring snorkeling gear after what happened last time.
Afterwards, the boat peacefully wades in the water. Reluctant, I climb aboard. Over the side, I hoist myself into the small vessel and ease my body into the partially drenched leather seat. Launching into speed, the boat quickly leaves abandoning the huddling rocks. Further along the shoreline, we pass boulders protecting the verge from suppressing billows of water. Momentarily I’m entranced when they’re drifting further away from sight. I cannot deny the excitement is contagious and I decide it is better off to try to make mends with the day to come.
The day comes full circle. I return after the noontide cruise -surprisingly content- to a dehydrated shore lacking moisture from the summer heat. The gigantic rocks are resting half sunken in the soft sand after their morning battle. When I leap in the silken blue blanket, it catches me. While the boat sputters to a halt, I paddle through the cream yellow water. With combing curls brushing past me, I enjoy a final plunder. Thick splashes smash onto my face creating soft succussion like echoes with every bounding droplet. Suddenly my snippet of excitement vanishes.
Streaming up my leg striking every nerve, I realize something has struck the sole of my foot. Pain, the most agonizing pain of my childhood. Shrill silence is followed by a piercing scream of agony forcing its way out of my lips.The strident wails and cries travel distances disturbing the sleepy sun. Misery succumbs my frail body. This unstoppable anxiety washes over me, a relentless virus of fear. A peaceful flower overwhelmed by the swarming of bees. A dreading of the worst strikes my youthful soul. A dark crimson blanket wraps around my waist, trapping me. Dad scrambles towards me, a lion protecting its cub, to help me out of my misery with a swift piggyback. He sprints out of the water, through the rocky shore, crunching each rock like Godzilla before collapsing me into a moist towel. I’m unwilling to look. The towering trees watch down on the unraveling horror while the dog whimpers and shrivels into a ball, too squeamish to get close.
Soon enough a deafening siren is heard, causing a brief moment of relief. I’m saved. Nek minute a stretcher carried by two paramedics races towards me. Whilst leaving, the darkness swallows the edge of the water when the headlight’s glow detaches from the shore. Next thing I know I lay inside an ambulance hyperventilating as if I were being abducted by aliens.The ruby flashing van hurtles across the rugged road, violently shaking the vehicle like an erupting volcano. The crunching of tires bumping against the road is drowned out by an uproarious “rrrrrrrrr!” A swarm of sandflies scatters on my left leg but I don’t bat an eyelid having worse worries. More pain jolts up my foot, in process of being bandaged. I’m handed some pills to swallow to my disgust. The same bump in the road returns for round two. I notice the dog accompanying me when it affectionately licks my hand. A lengthy drive awaits so I gradually drift into slumber. Though capsized I am lifted up, able to let the night devour the scene, only to leave a faint memory of pain and panic.