Here’s my third try at writing a “short story”. This one is a bit sappy… I hope you enjoy it anyway. I just posted chapter 8 of Spike’s story over on his blog. He finally gets to Alberta!
I couldn't help but watch them; I had been outside enjoying the day when they pulled up in their beat up car and started setting up camp. They were obviously in the mad flush of initial attraction, perhaps even newly in love. As they went about setting up their camp, every few minutes they would stop what they were doing to embrace and kiss. They seemed to have a visceral need to touch each other, perhaps to confirm that they weren't figments in each others imagination. The flames of passion burnt brightly in them.
Tent erected, they both slipped inside. I smiled, as I'd been there before. There was something about the warm, cocooning embrace of a tent... When they emerged, smiling shyly at each other, they started chopping wood for the fire. She tried banging the axe ineffectually at some wood, after letting her try for a minute or two, he took over, eager for her to know he was capable of taking care of her; he could split wood with the axe and build a warming fire. She watched him for a moment, pleased that he did not mock her, then busied herself around the site preparing a meal, falling back into traditional roles.
Later, with their chairs side by side, and holding hands in front of the brightly burning fire, I wondered if they would be sitting like that in 25 years, the bright flames spent, smoldering coals of enduring love in its place. Or maybe they wouldn't be holding hands, but would have a comfortable blanket of time about their shoulders.
Wistfully, I remembered those heady days of courtship, that feeling in my stomach from the butterflies of uncertainty. I remembered constantly thinking about him, obsessed, unable to steer my thoughts elsewhere. I thought of our relationship today and yearned for a return to long gone passionate days. I felt that I was missing something. I wondered if our easy days were just indifference disguised. I considered our long periods of silence and wondered if that was boredom. But as I thought about it, I came to appreciate what is now. For isn't some of the passion of first love fear of rejection as you carefully reveal more of yourself? Isn't physical passion the salve to learning sometimes uncomfortable truths.
That evening, sitting next to our own fire, I reached out my hand, knowing that it would be held, that he was not a figment of my imagination, but a solid, dependable, presence. I basked not in a fire burning bright, but in the eternal smouldering coals that are a comfortable union of trust, acceptance and love. The comfortable silence that only comes from knowing each other completely sat easily on my shoulders. Metaphorically, we are in each others embrace for a lifetime. Smiling contentedly to myself, I crossed my fingers for that young couple.