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December 29, 2023:
We had a zero day in town. First thing we did was search for a breakfast place with no luck in finding french toast so we settled on a place with flat whites and croissants. On the way there, we saw Julia pop out of the blue. I was caught off guard and didn’t know how to react. I stood there momentarily, then gave her a friendly hug and told her it was nice to see her. I noticed I closed myself off from my true reaction because I didn’t want to upset Orange. I hated when I felt I had to alter my personality for someone, but I knew it was on me, not them.
Lenses had to hitch to Christchurch to meet up with one of her hiker friends, so I invited the rest of the group to join as to not break apart the tramily. Then I realized I was being intrusive all because I was in fear of having another conversation with Orange about ‘us.’ I asked her privately if it was something she wanted to do alone because in that case we could part ways, no hard feelings. She let me know that it was not the case and that she really loved spending time with us and would love for us to join.
We began hitching and had difficulty getting a ride, but eventually a car did a u-turn and picked us up. They barely spoke English but understood we needed to get to Ashburton. They dropped us off beside a very busy intersection on a road that would bring us directly into Christchurch. We must’ve been standing there for at least two hours holding our thumbs out. In the hitching game I noticed that when there were tons of cars passing by, we were actually less likely to receive a ride.
As we waited in the heat, I thought about how nice it would be to have some cold ice cream, but I didn’t want to walk all the way to town. Seconds later, I spotted a sign that read ‘ICE CREAM’ and it was less than 50’ away from us!
“No fucking way,” I said.
So, we all made our way to the ice cream truck before continuing. Orange ordered mint chip. The young girl in charge of making it added two mint cookies into the blender which caused it to clog and break. She had to take several minutes to deep clean everything and start over. It nearly broke again on her second try.
“Okay,” she said while wiping the sweat off her brow. “What would you like?” she asked me.
“Mint chip,” I said.
I could tell by her facial expression she couldn’t believe the audacity I had. Still, she went through with making it because it was the only flavor I wanted. The ice cream was absolutely superb, we ate it while we continued hitchhiking. It was melting quickly and dripping down our fingers, unable to keep up with licking it off the rim of our cups. We looked like little kids having a hard time keeping our shit together.
We grew tired of waiting, so we sat on our packs and used one arm to hold up the other one as we were growing weary of keeping our thumbs out. Suddenly, we remembered Ben told us he had a car and to reach out if we needed anything at all, so we decided to see where he was at. Turned out he was heading back towards the east from the west since it was raining heavily on that side. He said he would meet us at Christchurch, but if we didn’t get a ride within the hour he would take a detour to come pick us up!
Out loud, Orange said, “God, if you can hear us, please let someone in this next line of traffic pull ova and give us a ride.”
Seconds later, a guy in a nice vehicle pulled over. His name was Dylan and he said he would happily take us directly to our destination! We told him how our friend just prayed for a car to pull over. Apparently, Dylan himself was just praying in the grass by the garden.
“Keep that up,” he said, referring to praying and holding faith in God.
I fell asleep in his car about five minutes into the drive as I tended to do in strangers cars, especially when I knew my friends could take over the conversation. I woke up by the time we were nearly in Christchurch. Apparently, Lenses was trying to shake me awake and they were yelling my name but I was out cold. It was a blessing and a curse to be a deep sleeper.
We thanked Dylan for the lift and made it to our Airbnb just in time for check-in. Lenses went to the city to change out her backpack for a new one that felt a bit more comfortable. Ben was only about an hour away so I laid down on the carpeted floor and talked to Orange who was sitting on the couch. I was in one of those moods where I blabbered on and on about the most random of topics.
Ben showed up and I ran to greet him with a hug and energetic excitement! It felt as if we were reunited with one of our tramily members. We drove to the Little High Eatery and told Lenses to meet us there. It was a perfect place to choose from various foods since we all had different cravings. I was really stuck on pizza and had found a place next door that wasn’t part of the eatery. I went over and asked if I could get takeout and eat it with my friends at the eatery. He said I wasn’t allowed to and that we would both get in trouble.
“Okay,” I said, “well hey, my friends and I are going to have a small snack at the eatery, then we’ll come back here because it looks like you guys have some quality pizza.”
“Yeah, our pizza is waaay better,” he said, “see you soon.”
We went over and ordered a bunch of meals at the other place, then quickly discovered we were full. Upon eating dessert, I felt bad that we didn’t go to the guy like I said we would so I stood up, getting ready to go and apologize to him. My friends told me that he probably didn’t care, nor would he even remember who I was and that it probably happened all of the time.
“Well, maybe we can go over there tomorrow and have pizza,” I suggested.
After we ate, we strolled around town. The boys bought themselves time on the LIME scooters and rode around, acting like a bunch of boys. They went into a church parking lot and tried doing cool jumps and burnouts while ringing the bells on the handle. It was funny at one point to see how Lenses and I were walking while the boys were slowly riding beside us having a serious conversation with us.
We revisited the same places I saw when I had first arrived at Christchurch. It felt nostalgic, yet a bit saddened. I saw where I was once able to be open and act natural around Orange. Now, I was cutting ties and putting up energetic walls, which I hated. It didn’t feel good for me, but it also didn’t feel good to have conversations about what we could or might be.
Orange invited me to ride the scooter with him multiple times and it kept feeling like a clear ‘no,’ so I stuck with it. Then, he found a shopping cart on the sidewalk and invited the idea of driving me around in it while he was on the scooter.
“I could go for that,” I said.
I had a kick ass time. We almost crashed numerous times and ran into oncoming traffic, but it was fun to watch all the people walking by and smiling at us.
After the boys were done goofing around, we continued to walk and came across a Christmas themed area. People had made human sized gingerbread men and mega sized candy gumdrops. There was a speaker with an automated loop story of a woman narrating the story of the gingerbread men.
“There she goes again,” Ben said, “calling it gingerbread ‘man’ instead of a person. How does she know it’s a man? Let him choose his own sex.”
We all busted out laughing at the silliness of what was apparently the problems of our world today. When we made it home we watched standup comedy specifically about that topic and other things people found triggering nowadays. It was humorous to find a comedian who joked about such topics and brought up how ridiculous it was for people to get offended over hypothetical scenarios.