Thursday, August 28, 2014

the mud. THE MUD

the first time i cried in front of a boy it was when i was 8 and my neighbor from across the pond, sean york, invited me over to watch a movie. it was "the neverending story." at one point the little hero and his horse are walking through the forest, and the horse, artax gets caught in quicksand. you can see terror in the acting horse's eyes, and at one point, the horse just gives up and resigns to his death and Atreyu starts crying, tugging on the reins, like no, don't give up don't leave me alone. i still get choked up thinking about it. during the movie, even though i had seen it before (!) i tried my best to hide my sniffles and when the first credits rolled i just ran home in a train of tears. the next time i saw sean york he concussed me with a 6-inch thick piece of ice from the lake. totally in love with me. 
anyway, in the zambezi delta they seem to have never come up with the idea of a pier or dock. you realize how much you take these things for granted in the rest of world, particularly when the camp, which we left at a delightful high tide is now 10m above water level, resting on the blackest, slickest, deepest mud you have every seen in your life. 
docks are for losers

to get to terra firma the boat is essentially launched at full speed into the thick of it. you don't need to brace yourself or anything, the mud slowly, delicately receives our vessel like the welcoming bosom of your grandma. from there, you can take the one approach, which is to run as fast as you can and hope your weight doesn't let you sink. the downside is that any slip up and your are face first in it. the second approach is to just accept the mud, be one with it, and deliberately strategically place your feet not too far apart so that even when they are hip deep you can pull it out and keep your balance. almost like walking on awkward stilts. 
the first day, people were notably impressed by my fancy sport sandals, which kept me comfortably above the mud. "woah, i need a pair of those!" yells semo, who until now has been leading the pack with his brilliant scuba neoprene booties. helga says braggingly, "yeah well i would have brought those too if they weren't so terribly hideous." 
as i walk confidently to the boat, my lunch in one hand, the satellite phone in the other, i feel an unworldly being delicately unfasten one of my fancy sport sandals. the suction of the mud holds the sandal firm and out comes my foot. fuck! i try to slip my foot back into the straps, and pull it out but it's no use. my hands are full, i hold my lunch with my teeth and place my sandal-less foot aside. it sinks, it sinks. the mud seeps through my toes. nothing has ever touched me there like that. i tell myself "you're at the spa. mud bath. fancy mud. minerals. age defying." i reach my hand deep into the  hole where my sandal is. i take hold, my whole shoulder and now my chin, in the mud. it's like i'm playing twister. i am breathing through my nose, trying not to let my lunch bag fall from my mouth.
eureka! i pull the sandal up, as a huge sucking noise is the angry scream of the mud, losing this battle.  i flick a wave of mud at the boat, the passengers mildly unhappy about having their faces streaked with brown. yeah, i didn't wear those sandals anymore after that. the mud won.    
those are my feet

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

J'avais complètement oublié ce petit rat de Sean York ....