Dispatches from Cuba #5-8.9.15

Not all days were to be spent drinking warm cervezas while staring at the sunlight as it broke upon explosive green, or the fading paint of colonial buildings. Sometimes you want to find yourself stepping gingerly over prickly limestone, easing toward the edge of a cliff, and looking down at a natural waterfall. The wall of white meets some kind of turquoise or teal, and there’s a small cave beyond. The heat is a background fuzz, lost in the aroma of jungle, through which I’d walked for close to an hour, but who really knows about time in a place like this? I took off my watch yesterday and haven’t put it back on since. The leather was as sticky and uncomfortable as thoughts of the past, or musings on the future. You could even say my ideas for the future were as unsteady as my legs looking down the ten to twenty metre drop to the water. From below, it would not look so high, and from atop, very damned high. All that matters is that it’s high enough for my brain to send shock waves through my spine every time I lean over the edge to find my easiest jump-route.IMG_4321

I’ve already been in the water. My skin still yearns to be immersed in the cool tranquility again. I’ve also just climbed ten to twenty vertical metres. My heart is beating too fast to tell me if it’s from fear or fatigue. I’m fine with either, but I need the beating to slow, so that my legs will have enough strength to fling me clear of the rocks below. I lean forward again, visualising what to do. Another shockwave and a queasy feeling drips down from my chest.

Bungy Jumping. I’ve done that before. It’s terrifying to the unfamiliar, and it takes a lot to get familiar with flinging your body off of ledges into nothingness. The body floods with chemicals that sting and burn inside you, in a very blunt announcement to not do whatever the fuck you are thinking of doing. The body doesn’t comprehend that you’ll be safe. Most likely. It’s really going to be fine. Chill. I know my body won’t listen to persuasive words no matter how gently I put them, and I know that after the flood of agonising chemicals, I’ll land safely in the water, and just like when the bungy cord stopped my fall in the past, a new flood of pleasant chemicals will envelope me like the hug from a mother seeing her son returned from war.

I lean forward again, try for a deep breath and twitch with another shockwave. I pant. I look past my probable entry point and see the faces of my friends looking up – so tiny and mildly green in the water. I see the GoPro in its waterproof casing, pointed up at me. I look down at the water as I move forward without stopping. One. Two. Three. Four. Impact.

Some days you need to take a painful leap to really enjoy tranquility.

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