Back to Nature – Part Two

Suzy and Rich settled in their cabin. She pulled her pack from the luggage and paused a moment and thought to herself, where did this go sideways? She reflected over emails and messages throughout the years. She was struggling with a big decision. He didn’t understand and misread it, maybe. Or maybe he read it perfectly. She always read too much into things and needed to let go. She pushed it to the back of her mind as she started to pack for tomorrow’s hike.

Rich came up and started flirting with her. He found it funny how she needed to plan for every eventuality when she’d pack her pack. He was more of a grab a few things and walk out the door with his pack kind of guy. “Can I get you the kitchen sink?” he teased.

She glared a moment, flipped him off, then tossed her water bladder to him. “No, but you can fill that with water.” Then she blew him a kiss. They bantered just like an old married couple, which at this point, they were. She folded up her sweater and rain jacket, stowing it towards the top of the pack, then pulled out the battery to the camera and plugged it in to charge. She left everything else sitting out on the bed. “I’ll finish this up later. What are we doing for dinner?”

Rich read from the campground literature. “They’ve got a weenie roast going tonight. How about that?”

Suzy shook her head no. “I’d rather not. Let’s go get something in town tonight.” She really was avoiding running into Steve and likely his family. “I wouldn’t mind checking out the area a little.”

Rich was an easy going guy unless he was tired and then he would normally insist. He shrugged his shoulders, “Okay, fine by me.”

Suzy could tell he really wanted to stay here, but she didn’t want to run into them. “I’m ready to go if you are.”

With that, they headed into town. The rain had lifted and the final moments of daylight filled the sky before the sun began to set behind the mountains.

The small town outside the park had a cute historic district. They found parking and wandered through a few of the stores, then spied a cute little pub tucked in among the shopping area.

Rich loved a beer now and then, and Suzy was more than willing to appease him tonight. She knew he’d ask about what happened at Cabin 17; it would go over better with him relaxed.

With his stout in hand, Rich drew a heavy breath as Suzy explained. Steve was from her past, and at one time, her best friend and love. She didn’t go into the day’s events, just that it was a shock to see him and it was upsetting. “I just want to avoid him, okay?”

Rich finished his beer and ordered another. Suzy knew that was going to be it for the night and that she’d be driving back. He handed the keys to her, they finished up their food and headed back. It was a quiet drive back to the cabin.

Rich walked back inside. Suzy decided to stay on the porch for a bit to relax and enjoy the night air, under the cloak of darkness.

She sat there staring into the sky above, watching the stars. She heard footsteps out on the road and a man and young girl laughing. She didn’t dare look down, she knew his voice. Her heart sank, how did they end up in the same place at the same time?

She gathered her thoughts, and slowly looked his way as their voices trailed off. He was hugging his daughter. She always knew he’d be a good dad and smiled, happy for him. She fought back a few tears then turned to go inside the cabin.

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