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Short Story

Jumping From A Water Truck (short story)

2013-04-27 15.21.28

Bike riding down the mud road, I am lost in my mind. The fertile green hills surround me, where am I? I am lost and that is a wonderful feeling. I know I will be found, the world is not such a large place, but for the moment let me be lost.

Pedal pedal. Pedal pedal.

I wonder what I was thinking about on this day? Strange that memories can be incomplete. I imagine I was a bit hungover that day, why else would I bike around for hours and hours. Where was I? Luang Prubang. Was that this life. Let me not get lost, there is something here I want to capture. The story of jumping off the water truck.

I saw it from a distance, it looked like a gasoline truck. Parked half way in the water, women and men clustering in front of the little dam at the front of the lake. They are fishing? Cleaning? I can’t remember. There are these really beautiful boys jumping off the roof of the water truck, lithely climbing up the hulking frame to jog down the curved roof and leap into the water: canon ball.

They are beautiful for their freedom, for their communal humanity, for the fact that they are having fun for the sake of fun and that is all the purpose they need. I remember watching them with envy: what a terrific amount of fun. Then, I remember opening in my mind a thought, unveiled to me like the first rays of sunlight at dawn: I am free too, why can’t I join?

It’s dangerous, the water is shallow, what if there are rocks, what if I slip. Death and its spectre always choking me, the shuddering fear enters my lungs. But I am free. Let me die, let me slip, fuck the world and fuck myself: let there be action, let me be my own master.

I grin and I grinned.

I stripped down to my underwear and the boys see me and start cheering me on. I wonder if they will steal my phone? Let them, but let me trust them, for a moment let me not be me, let me be one of them. I start climbing up the ladder to the top of the truck. It is taller than I thought, I am high up. Shit shit. Do I go to the edge and look? No. They jump, I saw them, let me just do what I need to do.

I tell my feet to run and I do not think, for a moment my brain is weightless, without thought. I was alive for that moment, how wonderful it was. The water embraces me and its crisp temperature reminds me for a moment of some forgotten memory. I was with my brothers, that is the only thing I know.

I come back to the surface and am greeted by smiles. Not just from the boys but from all the others, looking up from their laundry. I don’t mean to smile but I do, I crack a huge grin. Just… the pleasure of life, the meaning of life, this did not have to happen but it did and I love it. I laugh for a moment.

Then I get control. I put my clothes back on, give a kinda curtsy thing with another big smile, but this one a bit phoney, just to show respect, let me share my pleasure with all these others, may we enter each others heart together. Then, I hop on my bike and continue being lost

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