I was feeling a bit of regret the whole way from Ulu Klang to Kuala Kubu Baru that day. What was I doing? It was 6:45 am, early Saturday morning. I was still tired. I haven’t had enough sleep. My eyes were still red and moist. How I wish I could just lay on my bed, pulling up the army issue blanket and go back to sleep till noon.

Yet, a group of overweighed, male friends who called themselves, “Bangers” were already at the front gate of my house. I yawned again, this time with a drop of tear running down my right cheek.

*****

At the end of the briefing on the river bank, the chief guide asked for 2 volunteers from my group to join another group. The other group consisted of two pale looking, skinny guys and a hot, beautiful girl. From my observation I suspected that the hot, beautiful girl was from a mix parentage. I was in the middle of my judgmental analysis when I saw Anu, acting like the last bravado guy on earth, walked proudly with his chest opened, towards the group. “Oh no, you’re not the only one!” I said to myself. I threw myself to that other group before any other overweighed Bangers could do so. I could notice sneers from some of the Bangers.

*****

On the rubber dinghy, while we were paddling slowly down the river, I asked Farhanah more about herself. She said that she’s from Taman Tun and the first pale looking, skinny guy on her left was her childhood friend. Then she explained that the second pale looking, skinny guy behind her was her boyfriend. I looked over to my right and gave an insincere half smile to the second pale looking, skinny guy. The guy smiled back proudly, with one of his eyebrow arched higher than the other. Anu, who was sitting at the front most of the dinghy and was eavesdropping all this while, gave a loud and extremely short chuckle, exactly like what Matt Dillon’s character did when he heard Cameron Diaz’s character said, “To hell with Bret. I’ve got a vibrator” in There’s Something About Mary.

Suddenly, the orang asal guide at the back of the dinghy shouted, “Over right!”, signaling that we were already entering a rapid and all of us needed to be on the right side of the dinghy to avoid capsizing. There was chaos on board. Anu was wobbling his knees, jumping. The first pale looking, skinny guy’s Nike sandals were thrown out while he was maneuvering his body. I was bouncing my ass, leaping to my right after finding a comfortable landing target. I didn’t care what the second pale looking, skinny guy was doing. There were huge splashes of water as the dinghy went through the vicious rapid.

After a short few seconds, everything was back to normal. The orang asal guide shouted, “Normal position!”. Nevertheless, I was still in my comfortable position on the right side of the dinghy. Then there was a tap on my left shoulder. The second pale looking, skinny guy behind me was no longer pale. His face was turning light red. But, like a true gentleman, he told me subtly to get off his girlfriend. I realized that I was spooning Farhanah and my left hand was perfectly situated on her exposed upper left thigh. It was my turn to blush.

The rest of the rapid rides were awkward but I could still salvage some fun from it.

Apparently, the whole Bangers crew saw the incident. Added by Anu’s exaggerated commentary on the event, I endured sarcastic sneering the whole way back from Kuala Kubu Baru to Ulu Klang.

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