One Saturday morning they got up early and packed a cooler full of Diet Coke, Coke, orange juice, and beer. Tony had bought Bacardi 151, Absolut Vodka, and Jack Daniels at the package store the evening before. Morgan made ham and cheese sandwiches and packed barbeque potato chips, Chips Ahoy cookies, and some fruit to carry on their excursion.
It was another first for Morgan. She had never rafted on the Chattahoochee River before. After all the years she had spent boating and water skiing on the area lakes, it was a bit surprising to Tony that she had not experienced this pleasure.
He joked, “You are such a water bug. I don’t know how you missed being a river rat.”
She shrugged and said, “Some people think rapids are dangerous.”
They stopped to pick up Tony’s best friend Michael before they left Metro Atlanta. As daylight filled the sky, they reached their drop off point. Morgan helped stow everything in the raft, pointedly leaving the life jackets jammed in the back with the cooler.
They raced through the rapids making her laugh as the guys horsed around, acting like they were going to fall overboard. When they reached calmer water, Tony tied the cooler to the side of the raft letting the water help keep everything chilled.
Morgan was drinking 151 mixed with Diet Coke and the guys were enjoying other libations. Everything was carefree. They stopped at some cliffs where people were diving. Tony and Michael dared her to climb up and jump off. She did not like the idea, but she was not about to let them think she was afraid. When she got to the top, there was a strange looking man there and he told her if she did not jump, he would push her off and she might die. She glanced at his malformed foot and hurried to the edge of the cliff. She felt a searing hand touch her back and screamed as she dived from the high place. When she told the guys what had happened they laughed and said it was her poetic imagination.
Later that day Michael put his arms around Morgan. When she pulled away, Tony told her, “Chill out. It is okay. We can share.”
She was not so very drunk that she liked the idea and tried to push Michael away. He tightened his grip on her and kissed her. Tony smiled when she looked over at him.
Other strange things happened that day, but Morgan did not like to remember the rest. Some things you had to let go to live in peace with yourself and peace was an important commodity.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Saturday, October 26, 2013