C3 Chapter 3
Bella pulled me towards the river bank. We still held hands. When we were about a feet from the water, she let go of my hand. Taking one last drag, she puffed again and threw whatever was left of the blunt. She unzipped her backpack and brought out a chrome flask. She held it up, her grey eyes fixed on it then she smiled.
“What’s that?” I asked
“My negatives Urn” she replied. I didn’t quite understand what she meant by ‘Negatives Urn’. An Urn I knew was a container that stored cremated remains; ashes of dead people.
So I asked, “Urn, like the container for holding cremated remains?”
“Exactly” she said. My eyes went wide, and I was pretty sure my lips parted too. Was she holding a flask that contained some dead person’s ashes?
She noticed my shock and then added “I made a few modifications to mine. They contain the remains of my negatives”
I still did not understand whatever she was saying. “You’ve lost me. What are negatives exactly?” I asked.
She laughed a bit then smiled. “Well,” she said “negatives are all the wrong things in my life, the things I hate, things I regret, things I wish would just go away. So I write them down and when I’m done writing, I fold the paper and burn them. I put the ashes in my…” she paused looked at the flask, tilting it back and forth. “ Urn-flask” she blurted out, “it’s all symbolism.”
The way she said Urn-flask made me smile. “So this brings us to why we are at the edge of the river” I said. As I put together the pieces of the puzzle that seemed not to fit earlier on.
“Precisely!” she said excitedly. “I am her e to scatter the ashes and say goodbye to my negatives.”
“Hindu style” I said.
“Yeah Hindu style” she affirmed. She took off her shoes and stepped into the river. I watched her quietly as she moved further into it. “You coming or what?” she asked.
“I don’t think so, you see” I gestured to my legs “I’m wearing really tight jeans folding it isn’t an option.”
She laughed, “God you lack a sense of adventure. Come on… can’t you take your jeans off?”
“What? No of course not” I said rather abruptly. Then I gazed at the sand “I can’t” I told her more calmly.
“Do you know you’re killing my vibe?” she said with pouting lips.
I sighed, “Screw it!” I took off my all stars. I watched a smile grow on her face. Of course I wasn’t about to take off my jeans, no I would rather enter the river with it on. The river was chilly and somewhat unclear. I wondered what hideous creatures lurked beneath the surface, hoping some carnivorous monstrousity of a fish would not make dinner out of my skinny legs. At least I had a relatively thick layer of denim fabric to protect my legs.
We moved further into the river, we came to a stop when the water level was just below my knees and above hers. Bella held the Urn-flask in one hand and the lid in the other. “Care to participate?” she asked me. Undoubtedly, why else would I have entered this river wearing my favorite ripped jeans?
“Yes, sure” I said.
She slid the lid into her pocket and she emptied all the contents of the flask into her palm. The ash was a lot smaller in quantity than I envisioned. Was it half a sheet of paper she burned I wondered. “Let me have your hand” she said. I gave it to her. She made a fist and opened it gently so she wouldn’t pour all of the ash into my hand. She scattered the ashes on the rippling surface. I followed suit. I noticed her meticulously watching me from the corners of her eyes and smile. “You know you’re the first person to ever taken part in my little ritual.”
I smiled, “I am honored” I told her.
“Yes as you should” she smirked. “I’m quite buzzed, I think I would call it a night” she said. I felt sad and relieved at the same time. Speak of mixed feelings. I was sad mostly because she said she wanted to go when the night started to get really interesting. On the other hand, I felt relieved because so far, I hadn’t messed things up by saying something that might have been unknowingly repulsive.
“Um okay” I said. She put on her shoes and strapped on her backpack.
“Bye” she said and I waved gently. I watched the way her waist articulated her swaying hips and perfect bum so beautifully. ‘One of the many wonders of nature’ Erick would have said.
I walked back to the mini burn fire with my shoes in my hands, jeans soaked. I felt like an idiot for going in the water with my pants on, but I was one very happy idiot. “And there comes the conqueror” Erick praised me as I approached them.
“So how did it go?” Abby asked.
I tried not to sound too excited. “Um, it wasn’t terrible I think” I said and sat on the log.
“It was a great start if you ask me. I think you have a fighting chance after all” Erick told me. He wasn’t being sarcastic he was serious.
“Thanks” I told him.
“I saw you both enter the water. I thought you guys were going for a dip. What was she holding?” Abby asked.
“A flask” I said.
“A flask?” Erick asked, confused. “what for?”
I wasn’t exactly sure whether or not I was supposed to tell them about the whole ritual thingy. It seemed like a pretty personal thing to me. It made me wonder why she even told me in the first place. Anyway, I decided against telling them. “It was nothing” I said to them.
A fast paced pop song came to my rescue when it started playing and Abby’s eyes lit up. “I love that song” she said “Jonas turn up the beat!” she yelled. She got up and started dancing, walking towards the middle of the small gathering. Someone shouted “damn girl” remarking to the way Abby moved. She was one hell of a dancer.
“Ryan! I better go dance with my girlfriend before some random ass of a dude beats me to it” he said rather too loudly. I had a suspicion he was well on his way to drunkenness.
“Okay…” I said “I’ll just sit here.” And like moths to a flame, more and more people join in on the dance. I just sat on the log and watched.
After several minutes of dancing, “Teenagers,” Jackson said shaking his head. I totally forgot he was there, he was really creepy sometimes. “Nothing but a bunch of Estrogen and Testosterone driven lots.” I looked at him, then I turned to the supposed dance floor comprised of sand. I saw Abby grinding against Erick who into turn held her waist in place. Our eyes met then he winked at me.
I turned to Jackson again, perhaps he felt encouraged. “They are like zombies whose craving for fresh brains have been replaced by an insatiable appetite for sex and booze”
“Zombies really? That’s a little extreme don’t you think?” I said to him, he just shrugged. I smiled. Brought out my phone, double tapped to check for new messages, there was none. The time was 7:40. I remembered thinking to myself; 15 minutes was more than enough time for me to get home if I took a shortcut.
I was still contemplating which route to follow when Jackson exclaimed. “Shit, shit, shit… my Dad’s on his way! I’m sure someone ratted us out.” There was nothing spectacular about Jackson’s Dad per se asides the fact that he was the town’s sheriff. And except you fancied spending the night behind bars, it was time to bolt. I watched in amusement, no category of Homo sapiens disperse with the speed of light like a bunch of delinquent teenagers. Mats were folded, bags were packed, cups were emptied , weed was stashed, and liquor bottles were tossed in the river. They sank ever so sadly. The fire was quelled and then the marathon began.
Luckily for us, no one was spending the night in jail, owing to our record breaking disperse-ment time of 1.2 minutes. I waved Erick goodbye who I hoped for his and Abby’s sake was sober enough to drive them home. They climbed into his paint chipped, part rusted, rugged looking Volvo. A birthday present from his parents that he couldn’t reject, he swore he wanted to. Enduring the way the Volvo whined, made me thankful for my bicycle; some upgrades aren’t worth the hassle.