THE ADVENTURE THAT NEVER WAS
There is always something about travelling, don’t you think so? It will definitely change you. Maybe it’s due to the new and exciting experiences you get or the way it moves you from your comfort zone. However, it seems that no matter where you choose to go, or the duration of your journey, it’s almost impossible to come back the way you were. Any journey has got a unique way of making you different from the way you were before you left.
The trip was confirmed on Friday morning. I couldn’t hold back my joy in wonderment and imagination. This would definitely be the best moment in my life at least by then since better experiences always lay in future. I was a Form Four student and this would be my first time to travel in the school bus as well as take a long distance journey. According to St. Augustine, the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. My predicament was that I was a slightly below-average student in everything ranging from academics to co-curriculum activities. I attempted everything in school but I never excelled in anything. This denied me a part in school trips and the only time I tried to sneak out of school, the outcome was bitter. I was made to kiss the bus as strokes of cane rained on me and then wash the dirty bus the following day. At least I touched the ‘flying bus’ as we had nick-named it. What a fate!
I spent the whole weekend working on how I would look on the very day. It seemed as if I was going to another planet. Finally Monday was here. What a day! I wish you saw me on that day. You would think I was going to space with my funny outfit. Most of my clothes were oversize since they were all borrowed from different people. I was simply a combination of borrowed items. But what else could I have done? If I was to dress the way I did on normal school days, the teacher in charge would not allow me into the bus. How could I miss this chance! No way. The only unique thing I had was an old camera given to me by my dad who threatened to kill me if I lost. At least I felt on top of the world.
The First Ride
The driver ignited the bus and the engine coughed. My heart was throbbing profusely on my chest as the bus slowly left the school compound. The thought of visiting Hell’s Gate really fascinated me. I felt like screaming, jumping or doing something cheeky but I was careful not to do any lest I miss the chance. The ride was absolutely fantastic. I felt like I was the driver, no, the pilot because to us, it was a flying bus. I looked through the window and saw trees running backwards as the bus accelerated across the wonderful terrain.
We had travelled for almost four hours now. Tiredness begun to reign and some of us were even dozing. Chris made us to have the first stop over. He was really pressed and needed to relieve himself. I walked out with others, hoping to take a few snapshots of the bushy natural environment. I moved towards the wonderful bushes in excitement as I took snaps. Little did I know what was about to befall me.
I came to a standstill upon reaching a steep downhill. A wild bee suddenly stung my ear and I released the camera to rub the itching sting. What a fate! Oh my goodness, Couldn’t believe my eyes as the camera rolled fast downhill. As if that was not enough, I heard the sound of the trampling feet of a wild animal behind me. What else could I have done other than following the camera in an attempt to save it? Instead, I had to focus on my life now. I jumped and rolled down the hill with a loud scream. The next time I opened my eyes, I was on the hospital bed with a plastered leg. My body was decorated with bandages and I could hardly turn. Whom could I blame? I closed my eyes to the sight and my heart to imagination. The adventure was simply never meant to be! Dan Avnon (1998) was right when he said ‘All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware’.
Serge Lancel, Saint Augustine, (Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1999)
Dan Avnon, Martin Buber: The Hidden Dialogue, (Oxford, England, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 1998)