MEMOIR

One of Us Could Have Died That Night

Trouble found us after mixing alcohol, ego, and bad decisions

Claire Franky
8 min readNov 16, 2023

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Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

“Why do you always sign us up for every crazy event? Not everything we do needs to be some wild adventure!”

He stormed into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. I knew I’d messed up this time. Ben didn’t get angry often but he was definitely angry now.

I kicked off my flip-flops and walked over to the bed. Noticing the clock on the nightstand read 1:15 AM, I crawled onto the bed and sat cross-legged.

Sighing, my eyes traveled over our beaten bags slung in the corner beside the wicker chair. The room was basic with little furniture, yet it was the nicest lodge we had stayed in over the last two weeks.

I ran my fingers through my hair, replaying everything Ben had said as he reappeared and sifted through this bag.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “We shouldn’t have gone with them tonight.”

“Yep,” he said, not turning away from his bag. “It wasn’t just tonight. Every time there’s an opportunity to do something risky, you sign us up.”

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” I started. “Exactly,” Ben interrupted. “I didn’t want to go but I wasn’t going to let you go on your own with those two idiots and some strangers.”

I apologized again. Ben huffed and strode back into the bathroom.

Ben and I had been friends for four years, meeting when we were sixteen. We dated for a few months the previous year but soon decided to stay friends. It worked — most of the time.

That morning, Ben and I along with our travel buddies, Andy and Ryan had driven to Amboseli National Park in Kenya. We had been traveling around Kenya for the last two weeks and this park was a must-see as it boasted views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Photo taken by author.

Elephants and hyenas were prominent in the area. We saw many herds of elephants and a group of spotted hyenas took a particular interest in us.

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