Two Short Pieces
[Bungy Jumping (Queenstown)]
The tourist bus wove through the valley. It swerved this way and that, dodging the vertical drop to the gushing stream below. It was a typical Queenstown day: it was bitterly cold but the sun was shining. The smell of fresh air filled my lungs. I closed my eyes for a split second and listened as the bus screeched to a complete standstill. The next group of adrenalin junkies had arrived.
One by one they assembled from off the bus. It's usually those who have the 'no fear' slogan written across their smug face who, when actually faced with the crunch of jumping, suddenly turn green and feel their legs turn to jelly. That was when my attention was caught by a group of two. I watched as the young boy grabbed the camera and made his way to the viewing deck below.
“Ready,” he smiled with both thumbs up!
The lady, his mum I presumed, made her way into the reception area. No sooner had she been weighed in and ticked off the list that she was heading in my direction. The first of many.
“This should be fun!” I sarcastically commented.
Her smile lit up her face as she told me how she had planned this jump many months before her visit. She seemed pretty confident in attitude, but I could hear the fear tremble in the back of her throat. She stepped into the harness. As time ticked on, and the minutes seemed like hours, her quick paced jibber-jabber was suddenly reduced to only one or two words. I knotted the rope firmly around her ankles. With one final pull, I grinned.
“Okay, let's get you stood up so we can get you into position”.
She shuffled her feet slowly to the edge and grabbed the side firmly.
“Wooooow,” she looked down. “Are you mad?” she screamed.
Her legs began to tremble. The tears quickly rolled down her once cherry-blossom face. “On a count of three”, I explained, “put your arms in the air, and let your body lean forward”.
She grabbed hold of my hand.
“I can't do it. You've got to come with me,” she begged.
“Sorry nowt can do love. Three..... two.....”, I was interrupted.
“Is it safe? Will it hurt?” she cried.
“Just think of it like diving into a swimming pool,” I laughed.
The queue behind her was growing really long now and people were beginning to get fidgety. Impatience was growing amongst all the onlookers. She glanced down at the boy below. He kept waving, indicating to her to just do it, muster her courage and jump. Would she do it? I wondered.
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck,” she screamed, as the bungy cord tightened on her journey down.
“Get me off,” she continued to scream. Her arms flapped like a flightless bird.
“Woohooooo I did it,” her voice echoed back up the cliff edge. “I DID IT”.
Trick or Treat
The taxi door flew open, followed by an alcohol-induced vomit. My body sprawled across the back seat, legs in the air, with my knickers to the Gods.
What started out as a trick-or-treat expedition later branded me as a wild child who got off on lying to older men. But that was not the case at all, as I later tried to explain to my mum, whose silhouette had appeared at the living room window opposite to where we pulled up.
As I told her, the girl who threw up several times, splattering the tarmac road with that evening's concoction of spirits and wine - oh, and the late night feed from the Godfather Kebab House - was not me at all, for I disliked the taste of alcohol.
That's when the finger came out, pointing and waving under my nose, demanding “Don't you lie to me girl, 'cause I will find out”. She always did have a knack of finding out, too!
All we wanted was lollies, and lots of them. We were two silly school girls, my friend and I, with nothing better to do for Halloween than slap on a tonne of make-up, slip into a short but sexy little number and go trick-or-treating around the local pubs.
Several pubs later and we tucked away our lollies as extra padding in our bras, as a better treat came into full view. He was hot. He was damn hot. Tall, dark and handsome did not have a bar on this beast. We walked over, innocent smiles and all. Before we knew it we had a snooker tournament on our hands. We scored big at this game, as we told him and his mates that we were eighteen years old and up for a big night in town.
The night rocked as we danced until we dropped. We drank lots of bubbly, and downed a few shots too; the bottomless bar tab all thanks to the man with no name. From the blue-lit club room doors I stumbled to the taxi rank. I was sure I was about to have an out-of-body experience.
The night did not end as I planned. My mother shouted to the twenty-something year old man that I was in fact only fifteen years old. I watched his disappointment from my bedroom window. In a dream like gaze I breathed heavily on the glass, initialising “S.C ♥ Hottie 4eva”, as he pulled away into the distance in that vomit-drenched taxi.
© Sophia Chamberlain