The Tale of Two Couples (pt.6, for real)

I was excited to go camping. Despite the fact that four other couples and a few random singles were coming along too, I was looking forward to the romance of snuggling in a tiny tent, sharing a sleeping bag, keeping each other warm on an early spring night.

After hiking in our gear and setting up camp, we all sat around the fire, laughing over hot chocolate and s'mores. There are photos of me from that weekend looking 100 lbs heavier, all lumpy and shivering, wrapped in a blanket and multiple layers of clothing. Not one of these pictures includes my loving boyfriend with his arm around me sharing his body heat. No. I spent that weekend with only betrayal for company.

While I was trusting that a weekend in the woods would spark a dying flame, S made it very clear that a night alone in a tent with me was more embarrassing than romantic. God forbid, anyone would hear us whispering sweet nothings.... no, he wanted us whispering, saying, doing, nothing. As he had been from day one of our relationship, he was reluctant to show any kind of affection towards me in public. I took this rejection as I always had - with hurt resignation. I spent the night curled up around myself.

In the morning, I awoke to find him already gone from our cold nest. I assumed he had gone off to find the outhouse and didn't think too much about it. But as the smell of bacon and eggs filled the air he still hadn't returned. Not wanting to come across as distrustful - he was a grown man, he had every right to go off for a walk - I casually asked if anyone had seen him. No one had. Nor did anyone - including her husband - know where K was.

On the pretense of fetching him for breakfast I wandered towards the water, still clinging to the hope that I would find him alone.

On an rock jutting out over the gently rippling lake, I found them sitting side by side. They did not show surprise to see me pushing through the low hanging branches, in fact, annoyance seems a more appropriate description was what I saw on their faces. And I think it was this that kept my hope alive (idiot, that I was). They did not jump apart, or even have the decency to look embarrassed at their discovery. Their innocence kept me believing. They should have won an Oscar.

They showed me the dragonfly they had been watching uncurl from its former shell to dry its wings in the weak morning sun. As the three of us watched, it suddenly flitted up and out over the water. A bird swooped down and ended its journey before it had even begun. K started to cry.

Later that afternoon we all packed our snacks and headed up the mountain for the waterfall of which we'd heard tell. I wandered leisurely through the woods chatting with a girl friend. As some of the braver (insaner) souls jumped and splashed in the frigid mountain pool, I laughed at their shrieks and nakedness and managed to keep up the conversation. But my mind and eyes were elsewhere.

S had once again disappeared.

As I crossed a small bridge on the way back to camp, I caught sight of something just below. Sitting by the water, their straps crisscrossed together, were two pairs of sandals; Tevas, the stream gently lapping over the toes. One, size 5 was red and in good shape, the other much larger blue pair, were trodden down at the heel with the velcro barely hanging on. S was constantly bending down to re-fasten those flapping straps.

I don't remember much of the trip after this point. I know I stayed because I had no vehicle to leave by. Knowing me and my constant, insistent denial, I probably tried to act like nothing was happening. One thing I do recall, however, was that one couple (at whose wedding I sang and was blantantly snubbed a year later - an actual turn to the wall snub) left the camping trip early with the explanation that they could no longer be witness to the childish antics.

Unbelievably, it took another two months before S and I finally ended the charade.

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1 comment:

gmcountrymama said...

What a ridiculous immature thing those to cheaters did, I guess you just weren't ready to believe your intuition.