Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sugar Water

by Laura Eppinger

I don’t think, in my life, I have ever been offered sugar-in-water so much as I have been during these five months in South Africa. Or ever, really. Not once did someone offer to stir those white granules into my tap water during my 24 past years in the United States.

They always tell me the same thing: I’ve heard it’s good for shock.

Just in the last month I’ve had two offers. I accepted the first, though not the second. The first time, I was cornered in a neighbourhood alley and mugged at knifepoint. The neighbours found me frantic and crying on their doorstep and took me in. The second time, I fainted in a DVD rental joint after a day filled with chilly rain and long walks and no spare change for food.

The taste of too-sweet water will from now on bring back an electric twinge of shame. I just don’t have the heart to be needy. Phoning the police will take up too much of your time, don’t bother. I’m so sorry I scared you when I pitched forward, unconscious, into a shelf of New Arrivals. Can’t we all just forget this happened? I’d just like to slink back into my quiet world of stolen cigarettes and forgotten meals, thank you.

Black tea helps, Coke Light, too, to steady a head when it’s spinning. After a night of no rest, when the taxis are dead, after all its
sparks and shocks.

So drink sugar water, when you’re shocked.

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