I laughed. I laughed at the silliness of it all. We had paid for this. We had paid to get banged around like this, to get soaked, to get tossed in as if we still had the bodies of 20 year olds. As if we were our 20 year old selfs again.
I screamed as I toppled out of the yellow plastic inflatable raft. I surely didn’t see that coming.
I nearly missed hitting my head on a rock jutting out near the shore. I should have been more careful, though luckily my safety gear included a helmet. The water was cold, but the day was hot, so the unexpected dump in the river was refreshing.
I stood up, the water shallow enough at this point that I could stand. I grabbed my paddle and tried to throw myself back into the inflatable boat along with the others, who were uncontrollably laughing at me, and offering me no assistance.
We were on a Grade 4, and I should have backed up and insisted on something more my current speed. You can’t just go back in time. You have to go back far enough in time to ease your way back into the time frame you want to be in.
We hadn’t capsized yet, but we were about to. All of us. Our jubilant laughter would soon be replaced by fear and tears.
That how we had ended up here, on this island: alone, cold, tired, hungry and afraid no one would find us.
Our raft was unrepairable, complete with a large gash from our downstream flip. A rip so grand caused by such a small, yet sharp, rock jutting out in the middle of our path. It had been illuminated by a pillow, but somehow our illustrious guide had missed this.
I helped him build a fire. I could sit there like some of the others and just worry about what to do, but that wasn’t going to help. Let them worry and later claim themselves the ones that got us rescued. If it weren’t for me and him, there would be no one to be rescued.
Together, he and I kept this camp of misfits, supposed outdoor adventurists, together. We found food, we made shelter. We kept the group together until we could be rescued.
We found a glorious waterfall that pooled into a deep, gorgeous lake of fresh water. We used this as our drinking source during our time spent on the island.
I became accustomed to the island life, despite our short time there. I enjoyed sleeping under the stars, listening to the calm flap of the waves against the shore. I liked hunting for food. I missed this way of life and have dreamt of it every day since our rescue.