All of my friends are preparing for an amazing moment. We will all don our inner-tubes and swim suits and prepare to ride down a river pregnant with waterfalls. It is the peak of summer, the riverbed is all warm rocks and fresh air. We all get into the water, and begin floating down the rushing waters, jostled in our bright red and orange tubes. Suddenly, I am slung-shot into the realization that the banks have narrowed into a steep canyon, a hallway of stone. Its narrowed to the point where each person is stacked in single file, like a line of train cars one after the other. Like if the people running the slides at the water parks never made anyone wait. I’m afraid that my foot could be caught in a crack and I could be dragged below the water but it seems smooth now like a curved water slide, like a birth canal.
And the tunnel has sloped quickly, we’ve crested the hump on a roller coaster, we are falling, nearly weightless. My eyes are closed and I know I should be feeling gravity’s struggle to maintain its hold in the pit of my stomach, but I don’t. I open my eyes and I see 10 or 12 people in a row in front of me rushing towards the final precipice, water curling around their thighs and orbs of water firing through the air and one by one I see them break contact with the stone slide and go free flying. Time s l o w s d o w n .
As I reach. the edge. for myself. time. crawls. and creeps. My gaze drifts down into a deep blue green lake. I see each person falling below me in a chain of myriad poses. One guy, neon green trunks, goggles and shaggy floating hair, in a lazy tumble, rotating like a planet, the sunlight claiming more and more of his face as his smile stretches wider. A girl in a one piece purple suit and pig tails further down arms spread in flight, firing outwards with arms slowly coming together, body angling down into a precise dive. Others flailing and tumbling, as if air were honey. Everyone falling, spreading in all directions, all manners of flight and moving at the speed of – –
I am still moving and I am about to break contact with the stone slide, I must choose before I entrust myself to nature. I plot a course, noting where each will fall and making the hasty decision to thrust myself forward as far as possible. With every ounce of possible exertable energy, I grit my foot pads into the now almost too distant stone surface and press, away, stretching, through, time.
Time. Is. Speeding up again and I fall through the air passing the others watching each tumble and aim and land and disappear into a white, explosive bullseye. I fall 90 feet and crush through the surface, the sound is sucked with me into my efflorescent plume as I sink deep into the water.
The sun shimmers on the surface, the ring of my wake expands and overlaps others as they break through. I wait. Another plume rushes down here, another there, a delivery system by which each new person enters the depths. I am resting with my feet in the white sand, ready to fire up. Scattered pairs of legs dangle from above, kicking and treading. Down here everything rises. Fragments of the white plumes migrate upwards. Finally I choose my moment and rush towards the silvery, glittering formula of the surface. I am blinded from brightness. I feel the membrane slide down my face and shoulders as I enter a soundscape of playful laughter.