What is it?
AAAAHHHH MY FOOT!!!
Kasun held a carboard sign with “Welkom Noora” on the airport alley. Anxious, he scanned every passenger coming out of the arrival gate. Kasun was about to meet his girlfriend's sister for the first time. Among the crowd, he spotted a tall blond girl with a taller backpack. Noora saw the sign and waved at him.
Kasun: Hello Noora, I’m Kasun.
Noora: Nice to meet you. Where is Edda?
Kasun: She's hosting an important event tonight and asked me to pick you up.
Noora: Oh…thank you. Let’s go!
He loaded her backpack in the trunk and headed north through the capital's traffic. Noora was eager to discover her sister’s new life. First was Kasun. His family owned a small restaurant on the lagoon, where he met Edda. She immediately saw the restaurant's untapped potential and pitched Kasun about it. She convinced him that a few marketing efforts would bring more business, and she proved it. Her early wins won her a place of choice in Kasun's family. That night, Edda was hosting the restaurant’s first corporate event.
Noora daydreamed through the open window. Back in Amsterdam, Edda was the best at everything. An accomplished event planner, she worked hard and partied harder. Work parties started late with drinks and ended late with pills. Noora loved to party with Edda. Edda was the boss, and by default, her little sister was always welcome.
The road in front of the restaurant was full of cars. Kasun parked at the back, and they entered from the service door. The main hall was packed with people eating and chatting. Noora peaked around and saw her sister giving instructions to the staff. Like Sauron's eye, Edda saw everything. She rushed through the crowd to hug her sister.
Edda: It’s good to see you sis!
Noora: Aaaaw! I missed you.
Edda: Me too. You must be exhausted. I prepared your room, Kasun will show you.
Noora: When are you done?
Edda: Not tonight, I’ll see you in the morning. Tomorrow is my day off.
Noora: Okay…good luck! Try to get some sleep.
She hugged her again and disappeared in the crowd. Noora found Kasun counting the heads.
Kasun: It’s crazy, we’ve never had so many people!
Noora: I know, my sister is amazing.
Kasun: She is. Come, I’ll show you to your room.
Noora followed Kasun to a little bungalow in the restaurant backyard. In her room was a double bed with a mosquito net, a cute bathroom with a shower, and a water hose next to the toilet.
Noora: What’s that for?
Kasun: We don’t use toilet paper. This is cleaner.
Kasun: You’ll need adapters for your devices. There is one on your night table, with the wifi password. I'll see you tomorrow. Good night!
Noora: Thank you, good night.
Noora turned on the fan and crawled under the mosquito net. Too excited, she wanted to go out, explore the area, spend time with Edda, and eat the food she read so much about. She opened her book, and slept with a smile on her face.
Noora woke up at dawn, put on her flip flops, and left her room. The first lights showed the lagoon in all its glory. Glassy waters, coconut trees, and mosquito clouds greeted her first steps on the sand. She ran inside for repellent and returned to explore the neighborhood. In her morning wandering, Noora found a tiny, secluded bay next to a rice field; the perfect spot for her surprise.
When she came back, Edda was having tea in the main room.
Noora: Good morning!
Edda: Good morning! How did you sleep?
Noora: Like a baby. I woke up early to check the lagoon.
Edda: Nice! Mosquitoes?
Noora: They had a taste of me haha.
Edda: They are the worst in the morning.
Noora: What’s your plan for the day?
Noora: Cool. I have a plan for you, a surprise hehe.
Edda: Now, I’m scared.
Noora: You’ll like it.
Edda: You know I don’t like surprises.
Noora: Alright, alright. I found a great spot for a picnic.
Edda: A picnic?
Noora: Yes, good food, a beautiful place, just you and me, you know…to catch up.
Edda: Sounds nice. What time were you thinking?
Noora: Now. We can pick up some food on the way and go.
Edda: Wait, Kasun wanted to take us on a boat trip.
Noora: Oh no! Can we do it tomorrow instead? Or maybe later today? You tell him. I’ll be right back.
Noora fetched her purse and joined Edda outside. The two sisters packed breakfast from a nearby food joint and started on their morning walk. Noora could not believe how much Sri Lankan ate for breakfast. They had rice with curry, pol roti, idiappa, and two other dishes she could not pronounce. They crossed the rice field and reached the bay.
Noora: Isn’t it lovely?
Edda: It is. I tell myself that every day.
Noora: My first Sri Lankan breakfast, hehe I’m excited.
They walked to the shade of a tree and laid their picnic down. As Noora was devouring her food, Edda told her about the pros and cons of living in a small Sri Lankan village. She loved most of it, but missed a few things: her parents, snow, and her epic afterwork parties. Noora listened with rounded eyes, and added in a shy voice.
Noora: I got you a surprise.
Edda: I thought the surprise was the picnic.
Noora: Well, I lied.
She reached for her purse and took out her book. Inside was a plastic wrap with two pink sheets of paper the size of half a stamp. She smiled.
Noora: Are you crazy? Do you know what you're risking? What if they caught you!?
Edda: They did not and thank you. So...are we doing this? You said you missed the parties. Come on, like in the old days!
Noora: Don’t say it like this. It makes me feel old. I’m still pissed you took such a risk.
Edda: Sorry, I won’t do it again. But it was for you.
She gave her the puppy eyes. Edda looked away, resigned.
Edda: Okay...like in the old days!
Noora: Haha I love it!!! It's going to be epic, just look at this place!
They each took the paper with the tip of their fingers and laid it with great care on their tongue.
Edda: What about you? How is work?
Noora: Oh, nothing interesting. My boss is a piece of shit.
Edda: How so?
Noora: He was constantly hitting on me. When he knew I would not give in, he took me out of the field team and gave me the worst assignments. So after two months of copy-pasting, I quit.
Edda: But, don’t you have to validate six months for your master’s?
Noora: I do, but I’d rather start over than work for that pig.
Edda: Can't you report him or something?
Noora: I did, and I'm not the first one, but he'll just deny it. He always does.
Edda: That sucks...I guess you’re right.
Noora: Hard for you to admit haha.
Noora laid down on her back. Edda did the same.
Edda: Do you feel anything?
Noora: Not really. You?
Edda: Nope. Where did you get it from?
Edda: Sam, my dealer?
Edda: You still hang out with them?
Noora: Only when I need something. He's still not over you, you know.
Edda: Whatever. Come one, let’s have a walk. We'll feel it quicker.
The girls packed up their leftovers and walked along the bay. They reached a thorny field. Edda stepped around the bush when she felt a sharp sting.
Noora: What is it?
Edda: Goverdomme AAAAAAAAHHHH
Noora: What happened?
Edda: MY FOOT! AAAAAAAAAHHHH
Noora kneeled beside her sister. Edda had two black lines on the side of her big toe.
Edda: AAAAHH Kut!
Noora: You’ve got bitten by something.
Edda: It’s a snake. We need to go to the hospital. Call Kasun and tell him where we are.
Edda: DON’T STARE AT ME! DO IT!
Noora's entire body was shaking. She picked up the phone but dropped it. Edda yelled, "PASS ME THE FUCKING PHONE!" She dialed Kasun's number.
Edda: Kasun! I've gotten bitten by a snake. We’re on a small bay next to the rice field behind the restaurant. You need to get me an ambulance.
Kasun: The ambulance won't go through the fields. Stay still. I’m on my way. We'll take you to the hospital. Try not to move.
Edda’s foot started swelling. Noora was shaking from head to toe, unable to do anything but stare. Within two minutes, Edda’s foot grew to the size of a rugby ball. It was big, blue, and gross. Noora began weeping.
Edda: Not the time Noora. You’ll cry when I’m dead, and I'm not dead yet! Now, be useful.
Noora: I’m sorry…I’m…I’m
Edda: This shit happens every day here. Another thing we can add to the cons! Make me a bed, and bring me water.
Trembling and sobbing, Noora pushed the bushes aside and laid down the towel. She lowered Edda on her back and put her head on her lap. Noora patted Edda's hair. She felt the sweat on her temples. Her tears were raining down on Edda's face.
Edda: Shhhhh, it’s okay little sis, don’t cry. Sing! Sing me a song.
Noora: Bbbbbhhh bbhhhhh
Edda: Sing me…fuck. I feel it. Water please.
Noora poured little drops in Edda's mouth and soaked her forehead. She was burning hot, her vitality evaporating by the minute. Edda drank, smiled, and closed her eyes. Noora rocked her head, weeping, and began to sing.
A few tunes later, she heard the sound of an engine. Edda was unconscious. She dropped her head on the ground and dashed, yelling to intercept the car. Kasun heard her through the bush. In his red tuk-tuk, he followed Noora's voice to Edda's body.
Kasun: How long has it been?
Noora: Since we called you.
Kasun: We have to take her to the hospital, fast. Help me carry her.
They lifted Edda’s inanimate body and sat her on the back of the tuk-tuk. Noora wrapped a hand over her sister's shoulder, and held her head with the other. Kasun rushed to the hospital, banging his head and Noora's against the tuk-tuk roof with every bump. Twenty minutes later, they entered the emergency room. The staff carried Edda on a stretcher and vanished behind swinging doors. Noora waited outside. An eternity later, a doctor came looking for her.
Doctor: You're her sister?
Doctor: Your sister was bitten by a viper. We gave her antivenom but it was a large dose, probably a juvenile viper. What were you doing out in the field, wearing flip flops?
Noora: Is she going to be okay?
Doctor: I think so, but we will know for sure in a few hours. Now, tell me exactly what happened.
Noora shivered again, but the doctor's eyes were urging her to speak. She took hold of herself.
Noora: We went to a secluded bay to have a picnic. There we had breakfast and took LSD. We did not feel anything, so we walked through the rice field. This is where she got bitten.
Doctor: How much LSD did she take?
Noora: The standard dose. 100 micrograms.
Doctor: I see… She needs to rest now. You can stay with her. Don't disturb her sleep.
Edda woke up eight hours later. Her foot was still big, still blue, and still ugly. But her life was out of danger. The next day, the doctor told Noora that LSD caused ischemia (restricted blood flow) in her lower limbs. Usually, it leads to severe pain and limb disfunction. But in Edda's case, the ischemia slowed the venom from reaching her heart. In other words, LSD had saved her life.
Noora called it a miracle. Kasun called it karma. Edda planned her next event.