Still Waves by English Major Malaika Abdur Rehman

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Kayaking in Hatta, UAE

The three passengers were too excited to realize how long the journey was. They had planned this trip for weeks, and after various hiccups, they were able to find a weekend that worked with everyone’s schedule. The car ride there was filled with banter, snacks, and lots of arguments on what music to play. Reaching their destination, there were barely any cars around them, and they had come at the perfect time. It wasn’t too hot nor too cold. But there was one thing all three of them dreaded, and it was the five-minute walk up the side of the steep mountain. Mustering up all the courage they had, they began their climb. It was unpleasant as they ascended the steep, graveled road but the view at the top made it worthwhile. The top had a straight road, which was surrounded by big, heavy rocks on both sides. Looking over the side of the rocks, they could see others paddling and kayaking in the distance. The sun was reflecting perfectly against the silent waters and the mountains towering over the body of water.

Having absolutely no stamina, two of the three were out of breath when they had reached the top, while the third girl felt ringing in her ears. She really was unfit. The other two simply laughed at her struggle. I cannot believe we had to do that; she gasped trying to reach for some air against the warm sun. It really wasn’t that hard; you need to build up your stamina, responded one of the boys. She scoffed in retaliation, and then asked about the tickets. 

All three of them had gone completely red in the face, and the warm sun had intensified the second they got to the top. Sweat caused their clothes to cling to them and showed the outline of the bodies, and there was silence while the trio calmed themselves down with deep breaths. The air was at a stand-still, and a calm wave spread over the trio as they observed the beautiful view. No one really acknowledged her question. 

After a slight pause, the three of them turned to look at the queue, and after an intense battle of rock, paper, scissors, the girl huffed in dismay. Feeling list, she proceeded to walk up to the queue of people waiting to buy tickets. Regardless of the events so far, she was really excited as she had never been kayaking before, and the water looked particularly inviting. The line moved up quickly, and the small party made their way down the other side of the mountain. Going down was a lot easier than coming up. As they reached the bottom, they entered a tiny sanitization cubicle and then were redirected to put on their life jackets. The trio silently looked across the dock and saw there was nobody ahead of them. A look was shared between the three, and they suddenly raced across the wobbly dock towards the kayaks. They felt like kids that day. It was beautiful; the air was light; the sun was right and there was happiness all around. As they loaded into their tiny boats, the girl sighed in content and began racing against the still waves as she learned how to navigate a kayak for the first time in her life.