When I regained consciousness, I awoke to Sou leaning over me anxiously. He had a napkin out and was dabbing the sweat from my brow with such nervous attentiveness that you would have thought that my life depended on the quality of his dabbing. As my eyes opened I could see that he breathed a noticeable sigh of relief. I could almost hear his thoughts “Thank God he’s not dead!” before he actually said them “Oh thank God you’re not dead!” “Not yet” I managed, rubbing the back of my head where my head must have hit the rocks. There was no blood although I could feel a lump that grew even as my fingers massaged the spot. As I tried to gather my bearings I realized I was still melting under the sun. “Hammock…Water”, Sou nodded and ducked under my arm to lend a shoulder. Together we stumbled over to my hammock. He quickly ran to get some water from the nearby stream. He practically threw the bottle at me in his haste. I immediately splashed my face and let the water run down my back before forcing myself to drink the rest. The haze from the heat began to lift and my thoughts came a little more clearly.
“I was SO scared!” Sou said, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet from a semi-seated position a few feet from my hammock. He watched me as though at any moment the eyes would roll back in my head and I’d lose consciousness again. “What happened?” I asked, a little hazy on the details. “I go to take pictures of snake…” here he stopped and bowed his head apologetically “I can’t take photo. I can’t make your camera work”. I nodded not altogether surprised. “When I come back I see you on ground, lips shaking, eyes white”. “Was I shaking Sou?” “No”. His description sounded a lot like it could have been a seizure, despite the fact that I wasn’t convulsing. Either way, the whole thing did nothing but amplify my already not insubstantial fears. “You want pills? They give you power!” Given the fact that I had barely been able to stumble over to my hammock, even with Sou’s help and my current state of fatigue. Not to mention having lost consciousness/potentially having had a seizure, I came to the conclusion that I might not actually make it out of the park on my own. “Sou, how do we get out of the park if I can’t walk out? Is there an evacuation procedure?” He looked at me with a mixture of alarm and confusion. “But you Can walk, you Have to walk”. “Yeah, but say I can’t” I continued, “is it possible to call someone? A helicopter maybe?” My voice sounded too hopeful, even to my own ears. “You have helicopter?” he asked in surprise. “No, no I don’t have. But say I needed one, could you call one?” “I don’t have a helicopter” he answered incredulously. I paused to wipe the sweat from my brow, at least some of which I’m sure was from my frustration. “What do you do if there’s an emergency?” I tried again, belabouring the point since it seemed like the kind of information that might become relevant very quickly. “If emergency, we walk out”. Well there I had it, my imaginary rescue helicopter had crashed and burned before it had even gotten off the ground. “Sou” I said my voice heavy with resignation, “I’m ready for those pills now…”