Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Robert Brault
I don’t remember much of the night’s festivities but I do remember waking up with a dry mouth that felt like someone had snuck into my tent in the middle of the night and dumped a bucket full of used kitty-litter in my mouth. I felt around for my canteen and quickly realized I was not alone in my tent. I slowly rolled over and saw a full head of brown, tangled hair. I tried searching my memory of who this person might be and why they were sleeping next to me but all I drew was a blank. The last thing I remembered was laughing and falling off the log I had been sitting on by the fire.
I slowly crawled out of my tent and headed for the pond. I scrubbed my face with the cold morning’s water and leaving using my t-shirt as towel to dry my face. I tried to shake loose the cobwebs of the previous night’s debauchery as I headed back to the camp and bits and pieces of my memory started to fill in. I was almost certain the girl in my tent was Teresa but as to why she was there, I had no clue.
I quietly crawled back into my tent and lay on top of my sleeping bag using my hands as my pillow. The confusion that filled my mind was not completely new to me but it was more extensive than I had experienced before. I did not remember how Teresa got in my tent or when she arrived. Did I ask her to come in with me? Did she crawl in here accidentally? Did we do anything with each other? What are my new friends going to say? Does she have a boyfriend and if so is he going to kick my ass for this?
I felt my tent-mate stirring and I looked over and saw it was in fact Teresa who was lying next to me. As she rolled over her eyes opened and I could see she was a bit confused. “Hi.” I said.
“Mornin’ Skip.” She mumbled and then began to rub the sleep out of her eyes. “What time is it?”
“About eight or eight-thirty is my best guess.”
“Ugh, I should still be asleep.”
“Well, go back to sleep. I’m not going to stop you. I could use some more myself.”
“Don’t think I can. Umm…”
I looked at her and could tell she was uncomfortable. There was something bothering her and I don’t think she knew how to say it. She started to play with her hair and I could see she had coiled some around her left forefinger. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t really know how to ask this, but… umm… did we… you know?”
“You mean did we do anything?” I filled in.
“Yeah, did we?”
“You don’t remember?”
“Not really, I don’t even know how I got in here.”
I laughed a bit. It was a mistake, I suppose Teresa took offense to it and slugged me in my arm. “Ow! Why did you do that?”
“You’re an ass.” She cried and she started to climb out of the sleeping bag she was in.
“Hold on… hold on.” I said “I don’t know why you’re upset, but if it’s because I laughed, I’m sorry.”
Teresa was sitting up and she stopped moving. I could only see her back and I could see her shoulders moving up and down. Her head was lowered and I could only guess she had her hands covering her face. Soft sobs were slowly filling the tent. I reach out and rubbed her back. “Look Teresa, I really don’t think anything happened between us last night. First off, we both have our clothes on and second, you slept in your own sleeping bag and I slept in mine.” I explained.
She twisted around and looked at me through the tangled mass of hair that hung in front of her eyes. She reached out and touched my leg. “I sorry for hitting you, I just don’t like being laughed at.”
“Teresa, I wasn’t laughing at you; I was laughing at the situation. Besides, when I get nervous or scared I have a tendency to laugh.” I explained.
“I guess we have a lot to learn about each other.” She smiled at me.
“Yeah, I have a lot to learn about all you guys.” I said “You really don’t know how you got in my tent?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?” I asked.
“I remember when you left the fire to go to sleep. After that, things are a bit sketchy. Too much rum and too much weed.” She let out a nervous chuckle.
“I think I missed the weed.” I said.
“Yeah, Mike brought it out right after you went to bed.”
She laid down next to me and fumbled around in her sleeping bag for a minute. “Shit.” She exclaimed.
“What is it?”
I could use a smoke but I can’t find mine. You got any?”
“Sure, but let’s open the flaps first.”
As we scooted around in the cramped tent we bumped into each other, boney elbows and knees ended up in soft fleshy areas and grunts, groans and cries of pain filled the tent which were shortly followed by laughter. “You should get a bigger tent.” Teresa suggested.
“I’ll get right on that.” I said.
We got situated, both of us with our heads sticking out of our own sides of the pup tent flaps. I pulled my pack of cigarettes out, slid the matches out from the cellophane, handed Teresa a smoke and then popped one between my lips. I lit a match and cupped it in front of her, she leaned forward and took a few puffs and nodded her head to me. I quickly lit mine and shook the match out, licked my left thumb and forefinger and pinched the burnt sulfur and then discarded the small piece of cardboard.
The camp was quite and we could hear the periodic snores of our friends in their own tents. The birds were flittering between the trees, squirrels and chipmunks were battling each other for tree supremacy and as my gaze drifted towards the pond I could see a Doe standing watch while her Fawn drank deeply from the cool water I had only moments before washed my face in. I nudged Teresa and nodded towards the deer. I heard her gasp slightly and I turned my attention to her. She was grinning and there was a twinkle in her eyes.
“Wow.” She whispered. “That’s amazing.”
“One of the reasons I love being in the woods. I get to see all the animals.” I quietly answered. “The fawn can’t be more than a two months old and see the way the momma stands guard while her baby gets water… she is protecting it from predators.” I explained.
The deer stayed for a few more minutes, taking their time with their own daily chores. Their existence intersected with ours for only a few minutes, the fog of their morning breath scattered in the morning light and blended with the gentle fog coming off the pond. We watched in fascination and silence, our wonderment in the common creatures of the forest seemed to overtake our worries of our lost memories. Some smaller creatures pranced close to the deer but maintained a respectful distance. Once the deer had taken their fill of water they leisurely strolled away, not knowing the memories they had gifted two juvenile delinquents stuck in the limbo of the 80’s and on a quest for self discovery.