The Great Escape

Hey guys, it’s been…awhile.

I’ve been alive and well and doing things, I just haven’t been posting about them.  I’ll try to be better from now on, but it it likely that I will be quite as atrocious about updating as I have been up until now.  At any rate, you’re probably getting more than you bargained for with this update.  Here it is:

After lazing around all of Saturday at home, tidying up here and there, playing some games, and chatting with people back home, I decided to get up and out and about on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I forgot that Sunday happened to be the day of a festival on my island as well as Easter.  I did not leave my house until after 2:00pm, and the festival had ended by then.  Oh well, there’s two more in September, apparently.

My adventures begin with me going to the store to buy some water.  I was intending to bike/walk my way up and down the hills on the side of the island by the beach.  It was rather warm (Oh god, it was only 55 degrees, but I thought it was warm…) and, though it was a little breezy, it was not particularly cold.  I get to the store and buy my water, and the older man running the shop asks me if I went to the festival.  It was at this point that I realized the event had completely slipped my mind as I was thinking primarily of Easter.  I said no, that I didn’t know it was today (someone had told me about it like two weeks ago and as no one reminded me on Friday, I thought it wasn’t until next week).  He got very angry about the fact that no one told me, and said that he would have taken me along with him and his wife and daughter.  It was quite cute.  At any rate, I eventually left and hopped onto my bike, ready to get started on my intense biking/walking adventure…

…when I ran straight into a pair of third grade girls.  They have just started third grade, you see, so I still think of them as my little second-graders.  Unfortunately, one of these two happened to be one of the strongest of the children, and near impossible to say no to.  They wanted to know what I was doing, where I was going, could they come with me, and if they could come into my house, and if my house had any books in it, what I was doing, could they read any of the books in my house and, oh, by the way, where was I going?  I was quite overwhelmed.  I told them the general direction I was heading in and that I didn’t particularly have a destination as I was just going on a sanpo.  They seemed satisfied with my answer, but they made me follow them to this little waiting place for the bus that has books in it.  The one girl showed me her favorite books and then asked again if she could come to my house and read my books.  I repeated that they were in English and that they didn’t have any pictures.  She said that she didn’t mind at all, because she “just loves books,” don’tcha know.

We left the little place with the books and hopped onto our bikes.  The one little girl started heading back in the other direction.  I told her I was going the other way.  And they were like, but where are you going?  Where I repeated that I was just GOING not really anywhere in particular.  They, of course, decide to follow me.  It was definitely adorable, but my desire to have a nice, quiet trip around the island was looking more and more impossible.  I wondered if I could get away without crushing their cute, little hearts.

When we get to a crossroads, and one little girl asks the other if they’re going to eat anything because she, at least, is hungry.  They asked me what time it was and when I told them it was 3:00, the one was like “oh no, I have to go back home!” So the little girls said goodbye to each other.  But the little girl who had to go home was going the same direction as me, so we went together.  It wasn’t the quiet little trip I’d imagined and it was uphill, uphill, UPHILL almost the whole way, but it was much more manageable with just one of them.  And this child is more of a quiet disposition herself, so she didn’t feel awkward when we were both just quiet.

After taking a short break in the middle of one hill, we continued our hike up and around.  On the way, I found a lady bug.  I haven’t seen them since the summer, so I got excited and stopped my bike on the side of the road and told the girl to wait.  She stopped.  I explained to her as I took the lady bug in my hand that, if we find one, we pick it up, make a quiet wish, and then let it go.  And that maybe the wish will come true!  That’s what I learned growing up, at any rate, and although I’m not child enough to believe in it now, I’ll still stop and pick one up and make a wish.  She asked me, “do you mean like, ‘I wish that nothing bad happens, and only good things happen’ kind of wishes?” and I said that whatever she wanted, but that was okay, too.  So we walked our bikes along for a bit, searching in the bushes, until we found another lady bug for her to wish upon.  She picked it up, closed it in her hands, squeezed her eyes shut as she made her wish, and then she let it go.  I told her that maybe it will come true.  She said, “so there are times where it doesn’t come true?” and I said, “Yes, there are many times.  But sometimes it happens!” And she seemed satisfied.

We hit another crossroads, and just off to the side in the fence were some cows with their cute little calves.  The little girl moo’d at them happily.  Then, as we passed the crossroad, we noticed an escaped cow down the other way!  It was just chillin’ in the shade.  We continued on the way until, at last, we came to the downhill part.  Fortunately, the downhill part was a lot steeper than what we’d just come from, so I knew that the way back, while steeper, would be a lot shorter.  We enjoyed just gliding all the way down.  Then, finally, we reached the point where her house was and I managed to say goodbye there.

At last, I had the rest of my day trip out to myself.  Nice and quiet, like I like it.  You might be thinking this is the great escape of the day, and you would be right if I stopped my tale here.  But my tale does not end here.  It continues thus:

I rode my bike around to the beachy area and stopped and took some pictures.  After awhile, I decided to head back home.  Up…up…up that steep hill I went!  I peaked it, and hopped onto my bike to go a little quicker.  Then, I spotted a twitchy tree.  As I’m sure the description is rather confusing, my brain was rather confused by this phenomenon, so I stopped immediately to observe said tree.  The tree, as it turns out, was covered in little caterpillars.  Very twitchy, little caterpillars.  Left.  Right.  Left. Right. LEFTRIGHTLEFTRIGHT.  It gave me a headache just watching them twitch the upper halves of their bodies so rapidly and methodically.  After taking a short video with my camera, I moved on, as I was also rather creeped out by them.  I hit a little uphill patch again, so I hopped off my bike and walked with it.

As I round the corner right where the cows had been, I stop with sudden alarm.  There it was.  Right there in front of me, by the fence.  The escaped cow.  It slowly turned it’s bulging eyes to observe me.  It twitched it’s tail a little.  Now, normally, I’m not in the least alarmed by cows.  I grew up with them in the neighborhood.  Passed by many in fences.  And even here on my islands, I laughed at people who were alarmed by a stray cow in the road while they were safely in a car.  But right then and there, facing those horns and that twitchy tail, I wasn’t so sure of myself.  I looked at it for a few moments, took a deep breath, and started walking slowly towards it on the opposite side of the road.

It was at that point that two things happened simultaneously.  One, I realized that the horned beast was standing right by the fence where the little baby cows were.  Two, the cow let out a deep, long moo.  An unwavering gaze.  A twitchy tail.  A menacing moo.  Nope.  Nope.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t just calmly stroll by that fat, lazy, fierce creature.  Just like that, I turned my bike down the side path it had been previously and started along it.  Did I know where it would lead me?  No.  I had hoped that there would be some winding path around so that I wouldn’t have to pass the cow but there was no such luck.  Maybe, just maybe, if I walked long enough, it would move again and I could go back home without being accosted by the unexpected terror it inspired simply by being two feet over on the wrong side of the fence.  But as I walked, the path went up and around and I saw a sign that finally told me where the path went.  No–it was going all the way back where I’d come and beyond to the lighthouse.  I couldn’t go this way.  Not if I wanted to get home within the next hour.  I was trapped.  Trapped by this…this cow.  Reluctantly, and steeling my nerves, I hopped on my bike, and turned back.

The cow was still there.  It turned it’s head once again to look at me and twitched its tail.  But now I had the advantage.  I was on my bike, and right after I would pass the cow, the path started to drop more steeply.  There would be no way it could catch up to me.  It had perhaps a 5 second window to decide if it wanted to gore me or not.  I could get past it.  I could escape to the freedom beyond and home, and sweet life!

Except for one problem.  As I started to bike towards it, it’s ears stiffened at my bike squeaking as I pedaled.  Oh God.  Oh no.  What if that sound irritated it?  Here I’d been counting on gathering speed to ensure a swift and safe escape, and my old creaky bike betrayed me.  Trying not to hyperventilate, trying not to look at the cow as it turned its head to follow me as I passed, hoping that it did not in a single moment decide that I was gore-worthy, I slowly glided my bike past it.

Past it…THERE, JUST A LITTLE FARTHER AND I’D PICK UP SPEED.  I started to pedal.  My bike groaned and screeched.  I hit the hill and I was flying down the path!  Yes!  I’d done it!  I had escaped past the Horned Beast, the Keeper of the Road, the Obstacle of Journeys, the Herbivorous Terror (a.k.a., “random cow”).  I was finally free.  My heart, which had been fluttering with anxiety that I might be living my last moments here on earth, now fluttered with happiness.  At that moment, I knew deep in my heart that I could from then on overcome anything.  I had made my Great Escape.  Trifling work matters could no longer bother me; a bumpy boat ride with 3 meter waves was no longer quite so scary.  I knew that I could battle demons at the end of the earth, if need be.  And I would triumph…

…at least until a mukade comes along.  Whereupon I will flee with unaffected panic.

 

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