I come here every May 15th. The weather has finally turned for the better, the trees almost glow with that vibrant young green that seems so magical and alive. Below me the river peeks out through the breaks in the canopy. If I get here early enough I can watch the dawn mirror on its still surface. That’s the way we always liked to see it, back in the days when we came here to be alone together.
Now I come here to be alone, alone.
Sounds funny, but it makes sense to me.
This park was our favorite place to camp, not up here, down in Campsite 3 – the one closest to the trailhead. It’s a seven mile loop, just long enough to make us ravenous for lunch when we got back. We usually had a very light breakfast. You have to be quite breaking bread before sunrise. Other campers frown on being disturbed.
I don’t camp much anymore. Motel 6 is about as close as I come. I don’t do the seven mile loop either. A mile and a half up, and a mile and a half down pretty well does me in. But I still come, every Ides of May, both to revel in the spring and to reminisce on what we had before the cancer took her.
We used to sit here, on this very bench, and the bench it replaced, and talk about anything and everything – the kind of relaxed and easy conversation only people who know the depths of each others souls can have. Important stuff. Talk out hurt feelings, discuss plans for the future. The kids. And downright silly stuff – which was better; “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” or the original “War of the Worlds.” Neither of us liked the remakes much.
I still talk to her. Still cover the same sorts of topics, everything from politics to the latest cat videos on the Internet. She loved cat videos.
Only now she doesn’t talk back.
I get strange looks from the hikers that finally work their way up here when they see me talking to no one. I just smile and nod, fall silent until they pass.
I’m sure someday, maybe not too long from now, she’ll answer back.
© 2015 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.