She rolls over. The rash that runs splotchy around her ankles grazes the slightly damp sleeping bag, pierces through her dreams and brings the ceiling of the tent into too sharp a focus. She looks over at Gene, even unconscious, he is overly sharp, too… present.
Her intentions for the camp stove outside, with its promise of coffee, crashes into the tent zipper and her thoughts pitch into an increasingly loud pit of aggravation. She had wanted a cabin for their Smokey Mountain weekend…the kind with a Jacuzzi. Of course nature boy has a tent…wouldn’t it be romantic… no this is not romantic!! …what is wrong with this god damned zipper!!!!
“Good morning sweet-pea…you ready for the big hike today?” Gene’s warm southern lilt washes away her aggravation, leaving a vacuum where desperation floods in.
“Good morning…hon…uhhh… I think I have poison ivy… even the thought of hiking boots makes me cringe. You go ahead today; I’ll hang here, lie in the hammock, listen to the creek, and make you a nice hobo dinner when you get back.”
Civilization calls to her like a Schedule I narcotic and lovely Gene is taking his sweet time. She busies herself with calculations. Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? With the half hour drive to Gatlinburg… that will still give me over three hours in town with return time to spare before Gene gets back. She smiles at him and waits with the same anticipation as sneaking cigarettes in Jr. High.