“This is bull,” Satoru complained, not knowing when to give up. He always said that the last of the lot was the luckiest, and this is what he gets for it. “You could see the different one if you looked into the can!”
“Sure, but no one looked,” Maria replied calmly.
In reality there was no need to peek at the bottom. If you paid attention, you could tell that the marked and unmarked sticks stood up a little differently.
Satoru sat down next to the fire grumpily as we left the camp.
“Don’t look at the fire,” Shun said.
“No one ever told you? That’s the number one rule to night canoeing. You have to get your eyes adjusted to the dark as soon as possible or you won’t be able to see anything.”
Shun got into the canoe first and turned around to pull me in. My heart soared and I forgot all about being scared of being lost on the dark river.
The canoe slid silently into the night.
Not being able to see anything made us wary of using our canti, so we rowed with the paddles for a while.
Even after my eyes adjusted, it was hard to see. The river reflected only the flickering lights from stars, and everything else was blackness. The only sound came from the small splashes of our oars.
“It feels like I’m in a dream,” I whispered. “Like this, it’s hard to know how fast we’re going.”
“You can tell if you put your hand in the water,” Shun said from behind.
I put down the paddle and slipped my fingers into the water. The water flowed swiftly through my fingers.
From somewhere far up ahead, Maria’s laughter came echoing back. Because of the silence of the night, or the stillness of the water, sound traveled much farther than it did during the day.
Shun stopped rowing and brought the paddle back into the boat.
“If you keep rowing, there’s always going to be ripples, right…?” He seemed to be looking at the water.
I turned around and saw the campfire. We had traveled quite a distance downriver already.
“Yeah, but it’s a river, so there will always be some waves.”
Shun chanted his mantra. “Ready? I’m gong to flatten the surface.”
A ripple spread out from our boat, and the waves disappeared.
“Wow, that’s amazing.”
It was as if the water had been frozen over. Any imperfection was been smoothed out and the surface looked like polished glass, a giant mirror reflecting every star in the sky.