I grabbed his shirts on the way back to the trailer, carrying them to him, offering them one at a time so he could get dressed. This time, I could see his skin up close, and I still saw no scars, at least none on the outside.
“It’s been a long hot day. What may I do to fix you dinner?”
“Catch more fish.”
“You know, I’m not very good at that.”
“Yes, I know.”
I looked back at the load of firewood. “Do we need to secure this?”
He nodded. In the tool box, he pulled out a spool of nylon cord. He tied it off at one corner of the trailer. “Go over there.” He pointed to the opposite side.
When I was directly across from him, he threw the roll to me. “Slide it through there and toss it back.” I did, and in under three minutes, we weaved a zig-zag cover over the rows of wood and he was slicing off the end of the cord to secure it to the other end.
“In the glove box are the tags, if you don’t mind grabbing them.” I wanted to do anything I could at this point to be helpful, or at least not hurtful. I found them, still in the envelope I gave him just two days ago, as well as the previous envelope, emptied. I brought the tags around to him to secure to the trailer.
“Thanks,” he said as he tied it off. “I need to be sure to get these properly attached. I certainly don’t want to be scolded by a member of the Forest Service.” I guess he still did not forgive me.
I started around the front of the truck to the passenger’s side when he stopped me.
“Wait, can you drive this?”
“Do you mind taking it to camp? I’m going to…” he didn’t say, but gestured over his shoulder.
“Sure.” He dug his keys out of his pocket. They were warm and unadorned.
I climbed into the driver’s side, readjusted the seat, of course, and drove incredibly slowly down the road. I never towed a trailer, and although it wasn’t difficult, it did feel different than the trucks I’d driven in Texas. I pulled up close to our tents, turned off the engine, returned the cooler and bag of food to the cab, and decided to wash up a little.
I slid the keys in my pocket, as I headed to my tent to grab my face wash. Once I sat down with it by the fire ring, I opened and tipped the water jug, and it being a little lighter than earlier, I poured just the right amount in my hand. I added the wash and lathered the two together, cleansing my face, neck, and even my arms. It felt so good to clean off all the dirt of the day. I poured more water and rinsed off. Drying was harder, and even though I knew where the towels were, I just let it drip a bit to cool off. Back at my tent, I applied more deodorant and perfume, this time putting it on correctly, ran a brush through my hair, which I decided to leave down, and opened the tent window to the afternoon air.
I returned everything to their places in my tent and considered it nearly time to think about the next meal. He probably formed a plan, but again, the clueless tagalong couldn’t be less useful. Although we joked about it, I wondered if he wanted to send me fishing again. I guessed that getting started on that would give me something to do, but what if he had another idea? Surely it wouldn’t be too long before he returned, so I decided to sit quietly and reflect on the day. Fishing, or what could most closely be described as fishing, lunch, channeling of anger at the fish, wood splitting, hostile opinionated remarks – yes, we certainly filled the day. He didn’t say much about my apology, not that I expected he would, so hopefully we could still enjoy the evening and remaining time tomorrow. Of course, the window may have closed on his willingness to communicate with me, so the best to hope for now was a peaceful remainder of the weekend.
I chose to meditate quietly until he returned, trying to erase the negative moments of the day from my mind focusing on the successes and the beauty of nature as it unfolded throughout the weekend. I couldn’t balance well on the logs by the fire, so I wandered just far enough towards the creek to find the first flat boulder. I perched on it, closed my eyes and faced towards the sun, which still hovered above the tree line. I listened to the sounds, even though I ought to have tuned them out to meditate properly, even though they soothed me.
The creek continued its conversation with itself, although more softly at this distance.
The wind brushed against the tree tops, which, in return, bumped into one another, rippling a stereo effect from my right to my left.
The squirrels continued their quest for the perfect pine nut, and hollered and squawked at one another and anyone else who dare claim their booty.
The footsteps of a tall, handsome lumberjack approached from behind me. This time I heard him coming.