Oh to Be a Rebel

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot do.”
– Walter BagehotTunneling (2)It started with a Facebook post…Untitled

Someone commented that unless I was interested in exploring the sewage system, such an adventure could not go down in my area. Oh yeah? My little cousin  messaged me about a tunnel she’d found near her home. Challenge accepted! We made plans to hang out for the weekend.

Originally my cousin and I were supposed to meet up during Sabbath School to go hiking.  A misunderstanding, however, landed us on a whole different adventure. Somehow we ended up at a birthday party and crashed a wedding all in one afternoon. That evening we climbed up to a perch on a rock face and watched a movie with our guy friends. After that, we all spent the night ‘tied in’ to prevent ourselves from falling over the cliff on which we were sleeping.

The next morning, the guys had to work so they dropped us off just in time for the Sunday service.  My cousin and I got covered in chalk while trying to climb a fence to get to church. The hall monitor questioned our intentions as we searched for the Collegaite class but since it had just let out, I posed as a high schooler for the rest of the morning. Such had been the events of the previous twenty four hours.

The  conventional approach would have been relax on  living room couches after such a crazy weekend. Then again, that wasn’t as exciting as the possibility of exploring underground tunnels. Thus, after a quick lunch and a farewell to the parents, of we were, ready.Tunneling (3)Accompanied by her younger brother, my cousin and I found ourselves walking along a waterway. On the way back from church, I’d skipped barefoot along the sidewalk. Now, even the thought of testing the road with my toes shot a negative response down my spine. Our only comfort from the heat grew in the form of greenery that had replaced the water below. This included the shades of trees that grazed our cheeks momentarily as we walked through.

Finally, the time to explore an underground tunnel arrived. “There it is,” my cousin said, pointing to a structure in the distance.  We climbed over concrete bricks and pushed weeds out of the way in order to get there. Once inside, there was immediate relief from the sun within the concrete walls of the pipe.

“Graffiti on the outside says ‘find the dead rat’.” the other girl said as she took out her knife,  “I didn’t find it last time.”  She turned on an LED light on the edge of the knife’s handle. “Maybe we’ll find it today.”

I took out my own knife just in case. The little brother was suddenly not as amused by the newly acquired hideout. “I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go!” he cried, running towards the entrance.

The child wanted to sit outside on the concrete ring but this point, the tunnel was safer than being further exposed to 100 degrees weather.

Tunneling (4)

“Wait, can you stand there?” I asked. The camera clicked. “You have to come see this! It looks really cool.” The little boy came running.

“Can we do another one?”

And thus we spent a good forty five minutes shaping our silhouettes near the entrance of the tunnel. Pretty soon the child wanted to take pictures himself. I secured the camera around his neck, and despite my cousin’s warning, stepped away to give him space.

The result was not bad at all:

Tunneling (5)A ways into the tunnel was a turn that my little cousin was determined to check out. Being the braver of the three of us, she held her knife and ran directly into the darkness. With the separation, everyone became more sensitive to the sounds that vibrated within the walls of the pipe. The siren from a cruiser, for example, seemed like an army of police out to get us.

When the younger girl returned, she handed me the lit tactical knife, saying that the tunnel continued beyond the turn without an end in sight. “Also,” she said, “I didn’t find the dead rat.” Well, that was comforting. I traded her the tactical for my girly Femme Fatal.

Running into the structure reminded me of temple run. There was limited visibility and one had to be ready  for anything. Passed the turn there was nothing and so I returned, much to the joy of the youngest child.

Afterwords, we sat by the entrance reading the vandalizing notes of previous visitors. By now I felt to urge to leave but my little cousin did not agree. She sat transfixed by the words on the wall and wouldn’t budge. It was the part of being a teenager that I felt I’d neglected; rebelling against the rules without caring about potential consequences. I started reading the notes too. A particular scribble stood out from the rest. It had the letters R-A-T scratched out above it. My cousin and I glanced at each other in disbelief.

“I think that’s the dead rat.”

Seriously? We went all the way in when all along this was the dead rat!? Well, if anything, now I can’t complain about not exploring underground structures in my current area of residence.

At last, we stepped into the sun, but it wasn’t without discussing which our guy friends we could lure in. Wouldn’t it be fun to find out where the tunnel could lead?

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