Today, Robin and I went to a water park. I’m writing this on Thursday night, and half panicking that I won’t get it up in time. (Which I didn’t because #Rebel) CALM, Elm!
The water park was about half an hour from our campsite, and was huge. It had so many attractions, but Robin and I only went on two because I’m a wimp. After we went on them, we walked around (even though the floor was fucking boiling and our feet killed), went to get food at a noodle bar and relaxed in the “shade”. Saying that, the shade got interrupted by sunlight most of the time, and suncream had to be reapplied multiple times. Urgh.
You’re probably not wondering what the title means, so I’ll tell you anyway. It’s the thing that sticks in my mind when I remember the day, as sad as that is.
The first thing we went on was something similar to rapids. It was a water slide where you had to go in those rubber rings, and I went in one with Robin. You slid down and shrieked whilst you splashed into water, and it was bloody brilliant. I mean, I enjoyed it immensely, and yelled “BLOODY CRAPPING HELL!” on at least two occasions.
On the second slide, the “social interaction” happened. It’s actually laughable how I put that in quotation marks. Whilst the queue for the ‘crazy river’ wasn’t too long, the one for the other slide was significantly lengthier. As the sun beat down and I waited, with Robin and her mum and dad, I heard teenagers – speaking English – behind us.
Now, this has been rare this holiday. The norm is to hear Italian, German and Dutch, so to hear English was a shock. It was even more of a shock !hear it from someone who sounded close to my age, so because I’m a weird child, I fixated on it.
Luckily, it’s fresh in my mind, so I can recount it properly. The whole experience happened at about midday, before I had lunch, and so the sun was intense. There were breaks of shade, but all throughout the time when we queued, I heard them behind me. I’m really fucking strange in that I like to socially interact, though I’m awful at it, and so I tried !get an opportunity to speak to the boy (he also had a little brother who was about 10, though I had no idea of the older boy’s age at that point).
Robin’s mum was talking to me about how old I looked (apparently I do look about 14, sometimes 15), and I kept on thinking about the people behind me. When the conversation moved onto how I supposedly had a good figure, and that Robin and I were both very pretty, I started to feel more confident. It wasn’t that I felt insecure before: today wasn’t a bad day for me in terms of that, because I feel alright about my body. It was more that I was worried as to how people would view me in a social situation. Because of that, as we reached the top of the staircase, I turned. Partly !get the sun on my face, and partly to just… Build up the nerve !tell myself that I could talk to people, if I wanted to. It was important to me that I could because it proves to me I can be okay in situations like that.
After I was ahead of Robin and her family on the staircase, I thought my chance had gone. That makes me sound like a stalker, but it was honestly only that I wanted to talk to someone my age. At school, I don’t branch out often (OMG I’ve made that pun before but still) and so I felt a crushing disappointment when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to show a stranger, someone I didn’t know, who I was when I was feeling the most free I’d felt in a long time. Does that make sense?
We turned right at the top of the staircase, walking into a patch of shade. I’d hung back a bit, mostly to get Robin in front of me so she could help me not look like a complete moron on the slide.
Robin’s mum spoke to them first. They were talking about a slide that they’d had to queue for for one and a half hours, that was – I think – one of the tallest in Europe. On hearing that talking, something changed inside my thinking; I thought: why not? So I turned once more, and just asked a question like “Are you SERIOUS?!”
After that, it was surprisingly easy to speak. I only thought I was an idiot once, when I said that I was so paranoid that I’d burn and he laughed a little. His brother was cool too: they were going to race each other down the slide for 5 euros, which made me chuckle.
Feeling somewhat bolder, I decided !ask questions. Robin’s mum found out he was staying at a campsite not far from the water park. When I spoke to him, he said he was 15 – and the strangest thing? It turns out that he lives in a place very near to the town where I go to school. AS IN, he lives VERY CLOSE to my school and would have gone to it if his dad didn’t move house.
As we got on the slides – there were five slides going down next to each other – I found out his name was James. Using his real name might be risky, but I’m at the point where I just don’t care. Him finding my blog is pretty much impossible, and even if he did, he most likely thinks I’m strange (which isn’t a bad thing!)
Possibly the most hilarious part of it was when I came off the slide. I realised I couldn’t exactly stand up, all 5 foot 1 inch of me, so I shrieked exactly that, followed by “WOAH, where am I?!”
James then called, sarcastically whilst laughing, “In a swimming pool!” My response? “SHUT UP I KNOW!” Laughing all the while, to show I was taking the piss. At least, I hope he realised I was… Oh god.
“So, we’ll see you around,” was the last thing he said. Afterwards, jokingly, I said to Robin that we should go looking for him, but I knew we wouldn’t see him again. The park was massive, with so many people that it would be like looking for half a needle in twenty haystacks. The disappointment I felt was short-lived, but it was more a sadness at a missed opportunity. Not really romantically – realistically, nothing could ever have happened, but just in a friendship and potential future happiness sort of way.
I didn’t get his number, or his facebook or anything. However, the possibility of us having mutual friends is so much higher than it’s ever been before with anyone I’ve met on holiday, which is rather scary if you think about it. I was in my bikini for fuck’s sake, acting like a total lunatic and laughing, carefree. He is someone I will, most likely, never be around again and so for me, it didn’t matter how I acted: only that I was happy.
I didn’t worry that my hair was horrendous, that I laughed too loudly, or if I turned and faced him too much. I didn’t think about how he saw me, or if Robin would judge me (which of course she didn’t). Again, he’s just a random boy on holiday, who I met for 20 minutes, and who I know nothing about. Still, I’m smiling because I’m remembering how great it felt to be in that moment.
It’s getting so much easier to say that I’m proud of myself. I spoke to someone, spontaneously and randomly, without thinking I was out of place or that I should just shut up. Maybe, over the past year, I’ve become better at speaking to people I don’t know, but this time was when I put it to the test.
I passed that “test”. I’ve never been more glad of that.
From Elm 🙂