My partner rides behind me. He is just as silent as I am, listening to the sounds of traffic all around. A driver honks at me and yells, “Get off the road!” I stay on the road, much to their avail. This is just as much my territory as it is theirs.
We ride for a few more miles until we find our campsite. The dark won’t swallow us whole. John has the two-person tent strapped to his back. He’s stronger than I am so he carried most of the heavy stuff. We put the tent together, our bellies growling with hunger. I make a fire with leftover wood that the previous campers left in the fire pit.
John gets out the food. We’re having canned soup for dinner. After the fire is going and the food has cooked, we sit down to our dinner at the picnic table. I brush the leaves off away with the palm of my hand and drape the tablecloth across it for civility. John gets out the plastic bowls and spoons. I’m eating chicken noodle soup and he’s having bean and bacon. We eat silently, listening to the sounds of the woods surrounding us. The leaves rustle in the wind and the moon is so bright that it illuminates everything in the forest.
After we finish, we throw the cans in a garbage bag and I find a water spicket to wash the dishes. Once I get back to camp, John is already in the tent so I decide to join him. I get in my sleeping bag next to him. He’s already snoring. I cuddle up next to him and hold him close in his sleep. He wakes up and wraps his arm around my abdomen.
In the morning, I make breakfast: oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins. We eat with our plastic spoons and plastic bowls, trying to wake up, not wanting to acknowledge that we held each other last night. Us being together would not work. I just cannot see it happening. It just wouldn’t work. He may be handsome with green eyes, a strong jaw and muscles that go on for days, but the fact that we work together complicates things. I wouldn’t want this to get in the way of my job.
I wash the dishes again. I come back to camp and he’s already put the tent away, back in his pack that he’ll carry on our way back home. It’ll be a long ride, but it’s going to be a beautiful day.