I opened my eyes slowly, knowing that whatever had just happened wasn’t good. I gripped the handlebars of the motorbike until my knuckles looked like they were painted white, and hoped that if I denied what had happened long enough, it would eventually disappear.
I started to get a migraine from squeezing my eyes shut so tightly, and wanted more than anything to pretend that I was back at my hostel and waking up from a dream. I opened them slowly, letting reality in piece by piece so I wouldn’t be bombarded from this incident all at once. When my eyes were fully opened, I noticed that my motorbike and I had replaced a fence and were sitting exactly where it had originally been.
The lime green fence gently rocked backwards and forwards in a sweeping motion, an affect from my momentum. My first attempt at riding a motorbike in Thailand was unsuccessful. Would you expect anything different?
I turned to my friends, unsure of what kind of face to make. They were staring at me and the fence with puzzled looks. One of my friend’s mouths was twisted into the shape of an amoeba, while my other friend was trying not to smile. His mouth was a flat line, his eyes were shut closed.
“Ummm…” I waddled like an awkward duckling as I walked my motorbike backwards at yet another attempt to turn it around. It jolted forward as I turned the sensitive handle a tiny bit. I grabbed the breaks with my left hand, causing it to come to an immediate halt, and slid forward on the seat, smashing my chest into the speedometer.
“I don’t know how that just happened,” I said, finally regaining control of the bike.
I looked ahead of me and saw a sea of Thai heads peeking out from behind food carts and fences at an attempt to see what just happened. I pictured myself rotting in a jail cell in Thailand, locked away, forever unable to leave. Cockroaches would burrow their way into my skin and I would end up losing my mind. Insects and bugs would be my only company. I probably deserved it.
I looked at a man standing on the corner watching the entire situation unfold. He was wearing a faded navy blue shirt with a gray stain on the front and ripped jeans that were frayed at the ends. His hair was matted to the front of his forehead from dirt and sweat, and his skin was the color of roasted almonds. He dragged his feet as he walked over to the fence, creating tiny sandstorms behind his heels.
His long, slender fingers grabbed the fence and guided it towards the center again in a slow, fluid motion. The gate made a snapping noise as he shut it, obviously not broken. I felt a sudden sense of relief wash over me as if I were being drenched in cool water. He looked at me with his amber eyes and furrowed his brow. He blinked a few times, looked at the fence again, and then walked back to his original post.
“You can go,” he said to us once he turned around. His voice was raspy, as if spending hours each day in the dry heat had cooked his trachea.
“Should we stay or go?” I said, turning to my friends. I felt horrible knowing that I had crashed into someone’s fence, but was relieved that nothing else had happened to it. Why do these things always happen to me?
I was prepared to give the man money, but when I looked at him again he was smiling. He mouthed the words go, go, go, letting me know that I was off the hook. I looked at my friends, shrugged, and we drove off.
I lagged behind my friends the rest of the time, hoping that something like that (or something worse) wouldn’t happen again. Thankfully I was fine, and only suffered a few minor bruises…
Stay tuned for more incidences coming my way!
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