Kaivopuisto, a flash fiction by S. Anand at Spillwords.com
Leonhard Lenz



written by: S. Anand


It was probably not a good idea; I should never have put myself up to this. Any moment now. Don’t look down.

I could see the Baltic Sea docile as a lake, the little orange floating bridge, and the blue wooden dock it led to. The water was grey near the dock where it was shallow and gained in blueness as it stretched outward. She was standing with her feet in the water, shoes by the shore, and I could vaguely see her wave; I waved in return. There were a few onlookers scattered about who cheered and waved back. Next to the dock was Cafe Tuuli with a yellow roof and greenery around. I could probably still smell the coffee at this height. The sandwich they served this morning was exquisite – handpicked tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, olives, Swiss cheese, and something else that I couldn’t place. A little sweet, a little salty, a little spicy. Perfect. Alas! like an elastic band, my thoughts keep coming back to the present. Any moment now.

The road from the city to the beach split around a semicircular parking lot and joined the road that ran along the beach at two places. The whole landscape looked like the Eiffel Tower plastered onto earth – the effect of having visited Paris en route to Helsinki. We could have done many a pleasant thing in Helsinki as we did in Paris but I ended up choosing this morbid idea of an adventure. I do not regret it in my heart but the rest of my body doesn’t know any better; the shivers are getting louder. Try to think of something else. Look at the cars, little ladybirds in red, yellow, and black. The crane, with its long blue neck stood on the shore in meditation, waiting for the next fish. It was only moments back that it had caught a hesitant me and lifted me up to where I am now, standing on the cage platform along with the jumpmaster and the two ladies who would jump after me (if at all I jump).

Indifferent to my shivers, the day was still dawning, yawning, and slowly stepping out of bed. As we were being lifted upwards, one of the ladies, who was smiling amiably at me and seemed to be having a good time with her friend whispered to me, “The secret to Bungee jumping is to turn off the brain. Just listen to the 3, 2, 1 and jump. Veni, vidi, vici.” She let out a woo-hoo. Unsolicited advice. Probably seeing my billboard of nervousness. I managed a smile and glanced towards the jumpmaster. It worried me a little that he seemed preoccupied; I hoped he would descend to the present when it’s time to tie my cord.

It was her Parisian friend who put this idea into my head when he heard that we were headed for Kaivopuisto. She was scared for me, definitely no, what if the strap isn’t properly locked, what if they miscalculate the length of the cord, what if, what if. It was probably these uncertainties that had aroused my curiosity and before I knew it, I had decided that I was doing it indeed – what is life without some adventure? Her friend reassured us, that there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just like diving into the swimming pool. I should have known better. More than fear I feel something of an uneasiness bordering on excitement. Like this is an epoch… Indeed, there is no turning back now.

The jumpmaster touched my shoulder gently and said, “You’re good to go, Mister. Ready when you’re.” I could see that I’d been tied up into an elaborate network of straps and harnesses. The Bungee cord, comprising eight hundred individual rubber threads and would stretch to a hundred and fifty meters (so I’d been told) as I plunged towards Mother Earth, was attached to me at the ankles and waist via harnesses made of steel. A belt fastened across my chest over both the shoulders and around my waist had a ring in the middle, in front of my navel, through which the cord coiled back to the platform. The one cord that would retain my connection with this world, hold me close, keep me safe.

Time to jump. The moment is now. Let go and enjoy. I took a deep breath. The jumpmaster counted down to one; without looking down I plunged headfirst, hands outstretched wings. Cold wind in my face, eyes dilated in amazement, ruffled hair, butterflies in my stomach. Free fall. I am a bird in flight now. An unstrung kite. A shooting star. Beautiful memories rush to mind. Surfing in the sea. Midnight strolls. Monsoon rains. Kisses under the umbrella. Smile of that child in the bus. Ice lollies. Madeleines. What was that secret ingredient in the morning sandwich? Cheers from above and below. Wind in my sails… is something wrong, I don’t seem to be slowing down. I glance upwards, the cord is still intact. The Baltic Sea is fast approaching like a blue wall of concrete. Cries of horror by the shore. I search for her, she is a pupa, folded unto herself, eyes tightly shut. Two arms’ length from the water. The jump would come to a halt when I can barely touch the surface I suppose. I can only suppose now. I close my eyes; splash! Cold liquid, warm liquid all around me. Darkness. I can hardly move. Muffled voices. Darkness. I swim towards a source of light feebly filtering through the water. I peer outside; white feet, white floor reflecting bright lotuses burning overhead; I can’t breathe. I push myself through gasping for air and manage to draw a shallow breath. I cry with joy and relief. The doctor lifts me by my heel and declares, “It’s a boy” and motions to the nurse for scissors to cut the cord.

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