The ride to the lake is always relaxing. It’s like I’m leaving the stresses and homesickness behind me in Udaipur and the thirty minute bike ride symbolizes that for me. It’s the regular crew with the addition of two. It’s the girl from my organization and then another one who I briefly met the other day. She’s English. She’s cute.
There’s one bend that curves into the lake and if you look to the left you can see how far the lake spans. It’s really quite nice. I think this kind of beauty is always the hardest to explain to someone back home. They wouldn’t understand it. We have lakes back home and the photos don’t really do the lake justice. It’s more about the emotions that I have within me that make the lake special. It’s more than just a nice escape from the city. It’s more than how the chill of the water makes the humid endorsed sweat disappear. It’s a mental and emotional escape. I can float on top of the water and think of nothing.
After the bend we go off road for fifty yards and make our way to the more secluded spot. We’re still visible to people driving by, but we found that people don’t mess with us as much when we come to this spot. The girls keep all their clothes on and the guys strip down to their boxers. The first time I got to my briefs, I have to admit I was a little shy. I’m not too sure why, but it’s the truth.
We decided today would be the day we jumped of the ledge that’s probably 15 feet above the lake. I know it’s not very high, but it’s still daunting to us. We’re still not really sure how deep it is on the edge and a little worried about it. Ladou is the first to go for it. He looks at us all.
“I love you all.” With a quick smile and wink he jumps off the rock. He pops up and is all smiles.
We all give him a short applause and then it’s a free for all. I snap a few photos of everyone jumping off. The new girl, the Brit, is lingering too. At times she would look over to me and I give her a subtle smile. I wasn’t staring at her, it was just in the brief intermissions between jumps, I’d stair in her direction. I was assuming she was doing the same.
Finally it was Lakshya’s turn. He wasn’t the strongest swimmer in the group. He swung his arms back and forth, getting ready for throwing his entire body as far from the rock as he could. It’s a one, two, three count. When he reached three his knees would bend down getting ready to leap, but his arms would come back down and his knees would straighten up.
“Come on Lakshya, you’ll be ok!”
“Yeah, come on, I’ll wait right next to where you’ll land just in case.” Everyone was encouraging him. I sat there and flipped the camera to video. I thought it was kind of funny how many times he was psyching himself out. Eventually he finally jumped and the only people out of the lake was the new Brit and me.
“You going in?” I looked at her with innocent eyes.
I have to admit I wasn’t able to catch the first part of what she said. I thought her accent was really cute. “..in a little bit. I’m waiting for the sunscreen to set,” was the only part that I heard.
I threw my camera into my bag and then two stepped of the rock. I wasn’t trying to be fancy or anything. Just wanted to get away from her. I was a little intimidated by her.
A little bit later she did come in and floated towards me. I was treading water a little further out from everyone else. I liked to get a way and have a little head time while we went out. I think everyone did it for a little bit. You’d see three or four of us just floating ten feet away from each other not saying anything.
“My name is Sarah.” She extended one hand out.
“Finny. Where’s your accent from?” I didn’t break eye contact, which was usually my go to move. I always have a hard time keeping eye contact.
“It’s from the UK. Although, I lived a good amount of time in the US. I can already tell you’re from the states. What brings you here?”
“I killed a man, well not really a man. It was this guy. It was a complete accident. I was driving and he was running from the cops. I don’t know what he had done, stole something or something like that. Anyways, he jumped the barrier on a busy street and jumped right into my car. I was going pretty fast. The medic that showed up said he was gone quick.” The story was complete bullshit, but that was my humor. I kept a straight face.
“What? Are you serious?” Her face went from friendly to creep out quickly. It was like her whole face transfigured. At first it was wide and smooth, but suddenly after hearing the story it was creased as much as a ball of yarn.
I knew I had her and let a little smirk while bringing my eyes to the left.
“Oh, fucking twat.” The way it rang off her lips and tongue was so pleasant. I started to laugh. Her only response after that was throwing water in my face and swimming away.
I gave her distance, but eventually we were back to looking at each other in the group. When I spoke she listened intently. You could just tell when someone is really listening. It’s the little things they pay attention to. Not so much the story. It’s something I do very well. I add the little things up to get the big picture. I don’t see the big picture and subtract the little things like most people. I think that’s what makes me so good at reading people. She was adding me up. Or maybe possible subtracting, but I had a feeling in my gut about this one.