companions for life...

After the crocodile business I was afraid to get back into the boat for fear of what Teshka would think of me. I hoped I hadn't spoiled the romantic mood of our African sunset cruise together.

But if Teshka was angry or upset, she certainly didn't show it. Instead she passed me a sweet and beautiful look that said simply, "I love you and admire your manliness."

I fell swoon to her love and compassion and sweet tender care. She pushed me down onto my back in the bottom of the boat, stripped the belt from my trousers, and cinched my upper arm in a tight leather tourniquet. As the bondage began to staunch the blood, she clicked open her swiss army knife and set to work like a chef, deftly slicing me with firm swift strokes, trimming all the ragged bone and unsightly gore surrounding the open wound until I was perfectly clean and smooth. Next came the magical healing properties of the special "blue stuff" -- which, in fact, is usually green -- a potent potion of aloe vera gel and lidocaine that Teshka carries with her everywhere. She slathered her moist balm upon me generously, sensuously, thickly, all over my limp and receptive flesh until I dripped like a melting lime green jello.

During most of the procedure I saw that Teshka was quiet, intense and focused on her ministrations. But after it was over I heard her humming softly to herself, something by Pink Martini, and finally she began cracking the usual jokes as I regained consciousness. "Your arm may be gone, but at least your stump will get infected." That's when I knew for sure that all was forgiven and that our African cruise together would continue forever, companions for life.

Chobe River, Botswana, April 2008.

Rolleiflex T, Neopan 400.