We camped in a gorge. At the bottom of the gorge, like fifty, maybe a hundred feet down, there’s this little brown river. You usually can’t see the river because of the trees. Sometimes the drop off is rocky and steep, and you can look over the treetops and see the cliff on the other side of the gorge.
Now I could tell you a shitload of details abut the camping trip, like how long it took to carry all the boxes of beer that Stan’s brother bought for us over this narrow steep trail to our campsite, along with all our other stuff, or how it was hard as fuck to set up Kelly’s old tent, or how Jonathan and I got obsessed with making the biggest campfire ever and collected a mountain of sticks, or how Kelly rolled a big joint and passed it around and I caved and took some puffs this time because I didn’t want to be the only one not doing it, or how I forgot to pack my pillow, or how Stan forgot to pack basically everything.
I could tell you more of that shit, but none of it’s really important. So I won’t waste your time with all that and I won’t waste my time writing it down.
The important thing is that Kelly sat in the light of the campfire with Linda and he would run his hands up and down the inside of her thigh, and that Linda looked pretty and clean, even when she was sweaty and her hair was messy, and that she never took her eyes off Kelly when he played his guitar, and that Jonathan looked nice too in the light of the fire, and that it was nice to look at him especially when he put his head back to laugh about something, and that it made me want to make him laugh….. and for a minute I wished I was Stan with his jokes. For a minute. Less than that.
But maybe even that stuff isn’t important. The real important thing is that all of them were sitting on one side of the gorge, and I was on the other side, far away from them. They sat in the light of the fire, but I was in the dark, and in between us there was the gorge, which was like a big endless black pit, and even if I wanted to get any closer to them I wouldn’t be able to, because if I tried I would fall in. Maybe they wouldn’t have heard me if I called out to them, even.
Kelly and Linda were in their tent fucking. They had a lantern on and even though it was dim you could see their blurry shadows because the fire light was dying down. Jonathan and I had worked so hard with keeping it up, but it still died down. I didn’t know what time it was, but it felt late, and I was getting tired of Stan always trying to hog the attention, and making jokes about Kelly and Linda. I was getting really sleepy, and didn’t even try to stay in the conversation anymore. Stan went into the dark to piss, and then it was me and Jonathan alone at the fire, saying nothing, listening to the sounds of the bugs. The shapes of Kelly and Linda were still moving. Was he relieved when Stan came back and started talking again? Did he feel weird being alone around me? Am I imagining things?
Jonathan Stan and I slept in the other tent. Stan in the middle. I started hating Stan. And then I laughed at myself for it. I’m a loser. What did I expect? A romantic couples weekend with Jonathan and me on one side, Linda and Kelly on the other? Did I really expect that?
No. I was alone, on my side of the gorge.
I couldn’t fall asleep so I walked outside and added some more sticks to the fire, and then watched it die down again.