An umbrella of dark clouds was blocking out the rays of the sun. It was the 3rd time William had postponed the camping trip because he was apprehended by his greatest stunt yet to come.
His ex-wife, Grace, had the chap on custody, as a stuntman; the court didn`t decorate him as a liable parent. It was either his passion or his creation, not both, the universe wasn’t that kind. He felt conflicted between two sorts of happiness; this camping trip was to be his desperate bonding session with his son.
No amount of rain clouds was going to obscure him. The winds smashed window-shutters; a low but deep rumble of thunder vibrated the heavens. As they tightened their camping bags and headed for the foot of the treacherous mountain a flash of lightning radiated through the skies followed by a deafening roar of thunder.
He was acing his academics but was bad at social activities. Like father like son,
Sandi was much of an introvert, not very social. William fell in-love with the stunts when he rode his friend`s dirt bike and tried out amateur stunts. Now he wanted to raise the bar even higher, his greatest stunt was to walk on a tightrope, with the rope being suspended between floating air balloons at 8 000 metres off the ground. He truly was a daredevil of his time.
The two had to cross two bridges made of resilient rope and wood. Old-fashioned. As they carefully disembarked the last bridge, its unstableness had spooked Sandi and now he was holding his father like a frightened baby chimp.
That rewarded William with a grin on his face as he had a flashback of the time he first went camping with his own father once upon a time.
The sun was kissing the horizon but that made no significant change because the rain clouds made it almost near impossible for the light to penetrate through. They set up camp, made fire and started roasting sausages for dinner.
They shared stories of past times, funny and sad moments, as father and son.They laughed and chuckled from time and again, the bond was deeply rooted back and ready to be tested again.
The winds matured with great strength; the older, much taller forest trees were creaking as the wind curved their natural geometry. The skies were filled up with lightshows of lightning and drums of thunder. The first drops fell like ripe berries. In a matter of seconds, the forest was covered with a shower of rain.
They made themselves at home in their old tent, tugged in warmly into comfy sleeping bags. Sandi was out like a light. Having his stomach filled up caused by his victory on the sausage-eating challenge during dinner, of which William obviously let him win.
Grace couldn`t take the stunts, one after another, they got more thrilling and bone chilling. She couldn`t master anymore emotional torture. She prayed he made it alive after every stunt he performed.
William thought if could ever take it all back, stop the stunts to resurrect the marriage. These thoughts flooded his mind like the rain that was about to flood the forest. He decided it would be his last stunt, if he makes it alive, he’ll propose again and cross fingers for a second honeymoon. At the same time, he feared that Grace had moved on with another partner. Only now, after five years separated, he realised how lonely he was.
He realised how ignorant he had been to the woman he asked for her hand in marriage and made an oath to keep her happy.They had ditched their camping equipment and were fighting the storm to reach the bridge entrance. As old as the tent was, it couldn’t hold its own against mother nature.
The rain was heavy, the forest floor was a soup of mud. When they arrived at the mouth of the bridge, William`s heartbeat grew louder than the thunder itself.
Grace was reading a book, Enchanted, by Nora Roberts. She only lifted her eyes when lightning struck one of the nearby powerlines and darkness suffocated the room. She filled the room with lit candles.
Panic struck her heart, as loud as the preceding thunder, as she looked outside and felt the true direness of the storm. The railing of the bridge had somehow collapsed. Only the wooden steps remained, flying helter-skelter as the wind fiercely blew against them. He attempted to walk on the damaged bridge. Must be easy enough for him, he thought in reassurance.
After all, his stunt is much more daring. With Sandi on his back, his first two steps were wobbly as jelly. He couldn`t balance himself properly because he had to balance his son comfortably on his back.
He resolved to crawling on the bridge as that gave him less wind resistance and more balance as we would clamp the sides of the wooden steps.
He resolved to crawling on the bridge to avoid the gusto of wind as he would clamp the sides of the wooden steps a couple of seconds later, he felt confident that they would make it asthey now were half-way through the bridge, suddenly a flash of lightning blinded the heavens, and a loud crack of thunder befell the earth below.
The dam nearby was filled to the brim, and the walls of the dam were now filling up with fast and rapid veins of cracks. As more rain poured down and the winds got more ferocious, the walls fell down, the water rushed out with endless masses of water flooding the river and the nearby riverbanks. Half-way through the bridge, William felt an even colder breeze from the river, as he turned his eyes from the bridge to the river, he froze with terror.
He knew they had very little time, it was now or never. Sandi followed his father`s gaze at the flooding river and held on tighter than a cowboy riding a bull.
The sun was warm on his face, his friends were cheering him on as he scored the winning goal, and his school soccer team won the tournament. As captain, he held the cup and was lifted up in celebration by his team surrounded by his friends and school mates.
With everyone cheering him on, he was the happiest version of himself he’s ever been. When he went to bed that night we wondered if it was all just a dream, he was so happy and so humbled.
As he opened his eyes, he saw his father looking over him and shouting his name as he shook him awake. Sandi had fainted at the sight of the flooded river.
But they had passed safely to the other side of the bridge, William asked Sandi if he was feeling better, Sandi replied jokingly by saying, Dad, I need to make friends and probably join a soccer team, William laughed in both relief and happiness as the rains preceded and they walked back home.