Wheeling Park Ch. 01byAmeaner©
My name is Trudy. We won't mention any last names for reasons that will become clear later on. I was going to call this 'Trudy's Tail', but this is not just my tale (or tail) and please excuse the would-be word play; I've always had a slightly quirky sense of humour. Or, 'boring', as my ex-husband used to describe it. Apparently, everything about me was boring but, still, the woman he left me and our two children for didn't exactly seem the type to engage in sex while base jumping when I met her at their wedding reception a year after.
I suppose that was the event that started this whole thing off. It was the day after the reception, the one that I only intended to drop the kids off at, but actually attended for some unknown and God forsaken reason, when all of my self persuasion of how the event had no effect on me had worn off. I was depressed, watching Coronation Street, sitting on the couch with my legs up and folded under me, trying to enjoy this personal pastime as I had for years and, just lately, with a glass or two of wine and a package of chocolate fingers, (I love those!) when I suddenly began to wonder if Kevin, my ex, wasn't right about me. I sat forward, no longer looking at the TV, but right through the solid oak coffee table while my adrenaline surged slightly.
I was a thirty-eight, divorced, stay-at-home mom, as I'd always been in my nice big house, which Kevin paid for, with no friends and no life other than the phony ones I lived vicariously through on TV. And I'd always been like this, hadn't I? I used to tell Kevin that this was what normal life was, told him to grow up for years and stop wasting money while I,... just stopped.
On the TV, Steve said something quite witty and cutting at the taxi stand that I normally would have smiled at, but I only looked blank faced at the television, suddenly thinking about Kevin and how I'd dragged him down all those years. Kevin, who'd moved on.
Oh God, no. This couldn't be.
I batted the package of chocolate fingers from my lap and got up, looking across the room, not quite sure why I did beyond the sudden and simple need to move. I downed the rest of my second glass of wine as the storyline on TV cut to stupid, ugly Gail and walked quickly to the window for want of anywhere else, noting it was a very nice, early June day outside in Southern Ontario. They were predicting the first heat wave of the season to arrive in the next few days and there were concerns about power outages due to grid overload again,...
This thought was brushed away as I moved again, back to my thoughts of self, walking around my living room, pausing to stare at some ornament or something without really seeing it and realizing with further alarm that I'd always been boring, even in high school. I'd married Kevin after meeting him in my senior year, the only boy I'd ever dated, because no other boys would ask. Because I was boring. Kevin probably only asked because, at the time, he'd been having his severe under-bite fixed and the stainless steel braces screwed to his jaws made him undesirable to the more popular, exciting girls. If I hadn't gotten pregnant, he'd probably have dumped me the moment those braces came off but, instead, he went on to university to become a very attractive and successful corporate lawyer with a boring wife and twins at home.
I suddenly disgusted myself.
I stopped in front of a large, floor length mirror and took a good look for the first time in my life, it seemed, hardly able to look into my own pathetic brown eyes as they stared back.
I wasn't ugly, but not pretty either. I never bothered with makeup and my hair was just as boring as my face. Dark and long, the only thing it had going for it was its thickness and natural body. I'd gained weight since Kevin left. Not much, just enough to make me a little chubby with wider hips, bigger, (D cup now) softer breasts. I remembered a time when I worked out while I watched Coronation Street instead of gulping wine and cramming damnedable chocolate fingers into my mouth on the couch like the depressed, boring loser I'd become.
What followed was what I'm quite sure was a panic attack. I bolted for the front door, needing to get some air, but then diverted to the back of the house, through the kitchen for more private air. I burst the back door and stood for a moment before throwing myself into a deckchair on my veranda. I closed my eyes against a sudden need to cry, demanding that I stop feeling sorry for myself as my tears succeeded in leaking through my lids anyway. I'd wasted my life and I'd almost managed to waste all of Kevin's, too. Who could blame him for leaving me? At that moment, I'd have left me if I could have.
What was I going to do?
I opened my eyes after a minute or two and the answer was right there. Slowly getting out of the chair, I walked across the warm, cedar stained decking, sniffling and wiping my tears, looking at approximately four tons of idea that my boring personality was, even then, railing against.
I went back inside the house, ignoring my personality, to the cupboard where we keep our coffee mugs and spare keys. The ring with the round, crystal keyfob stood out right away and I grabbed it and went back outside, down the stairs to the driveway and the side door of the long Winnebago parked there. Kevin had bought it shortly before our marriage fell apart in a last ditch attempt to salvage some life out of me. He didn't even want it when he left, said he couldn't bear to look at it.
I inserted the key, turned it and opened the door. It was hot inside, all the windows being closed, but I stepped in anyway. I took a fresh look around at the well appointed quarters on wheels before moving to the front of the vehicle. I grabbed the faded black and red 'FOR SALE' sign out of the windshield where it was propped and tossed it to the floor before hopping into the driver's seat.
Almost hoping it wouldn't, I twisted the key and it started right up. I knew it would anyway because I'd had to periodically come out and start it over the past year, checking the tires to make sure they were properly inflated and running it back and forth in the driveway a few times to make sure it stayed in presentable condition for a top dollar resale.
I shut the rig down, reached over to the glove box and removed the park brochures Kevin had spread out in front of me just over a year before. 'Victoria Park and Campground' was the one he was most excited about.
After opening all the windows and doors so the behemoth could air out, I went back inside with the travel information.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
"What!?" they asked incredulously, looking at one another and back to me.
My twins, Jenifer and Jarid, had just returned with the groceries, because I was too boring to go out and do even so much as that, and were looking at me as if I'd taken total leave of my senses. From their perspective, I suppose, it would have seemed that way.
"Out to the camper with them!" I insisted, turning off the forgotten television and whatever else CBC followed their only good show with, one of my packed suitcases in hand. "I'll help you lug them in and then you two go pack while I put them away, fill the water tank and stow the deck chairs."
"Mom, you can't be serious! I'm starting a Summer job tomorrow so I can have my bike on the road in time for University this fall!" Jarid angrily protested. He looks like me in hair, eye colour and features, but with his father's build of lean muscle.
"And I'm supposed to be in hockey school this summer! You paid for this!", Jenifer charged, reinforcing what my doubts were telling me about how safe and easy my boring life was and how I'd miss Coronation Street,... almost enough to make me listen.
"Kids,...", I started, walking up to them. I put my suitcase down and smiled before going on. "You're eighteen, you've just graduated and both of you will be off to university this fall. After that, we'll probably never be together again and I'll just sit in this house and rot. Don't worry about this fall. I know this goes against everything I've ever told you, but we're going to live in the moment this one time because we'll never have this moment again and I'll never have this Summer with you again. Jarid, don't worry about your motorbike, it'll be taken care of in time, I promise. Bring it along if you like, there's a deck on the back of the camper that's sturdy enough and there's plenty of places to ride it where we're going. Jenny,... So, what?" I asked, throwing my hands up and shaking my head.
"I, I worked hard! Not everybody gets into-!" She looked at me like she wanted to slap some sense into me, a near copy of myself when I was her age in face and body except for her father's blue eyes, which she of course had to match up with blonde from a bottle. At least neither of them inherited my boring personality, not to mention their father's under-bite.
"So, bring your gear and ball and you can practice against your brother. There's always next year and it won't keep you off the team this fall."
"Oh my God!"
"You said it, sis! This sucks shit, mom!"
"Well, you're not staying here alone, so help me with these groceries and then go pack, because you're coming to Victoria Park with me whether you like it or not and that's final."
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Well, it wasn't quite that simple, as you can probably well imagine. They almost drove me insane with their complaining and woes about this and that and how I'd ruined their lives while I tried to navigate traffic in the space shuttle without sideswiping any stop signs during right turns.
The first holdup was the mall because Jenifer's closet wasn't stocked with 'camping wear' and Jarid didn't have swim trunks or shorts because he was a 'garage guy'. I gave them five hundred of Kevin's dollars and told them to get what they needed and to meet me in two hours back at the Columbia, as I'd christened her after a close call with a skateboarder. I realized I could use the time to grab a few things for myself and for the trip, so I followed.
The first thing I bought was a hibachi. El cheapo, on sale and perfect. Charcoal, a lighter and some fancy bug repeller gadget finished my hardware list.
After a trip to the Liquor store, I went and got some summer clothes myself. Nice light, airy dresses, shorts (one rather nice, snug fitting denim pair), a couple of light, short skirts, summer tops, tank tops, and cammies. Finally, I agonized over the swimsuit. The little two piece number I was daring myself to get, or a safer (boring) one piece? I got both.
I was on my way out when I saw the lingerie section. I stopped. Cheap department store stuff, I grabbed a bunch of it with Kevin and his new wife on my mind, for some reason.
Wearing one of the summer dresses out of the store, a red one with black lacy panties and matching bra underneath, I left my old clothes in the changing room, feeling glad I'd shaved my legs that morning, and only packed my nicer clothes for this trip. I looked at the old green gym pants and flowery blouse, boring bra and underwear on the changing bench and I promised myself right then to throw out the rest of the garbage from my closet as soon as we got back home. Whenever that would be. I was proving that Trudy didn't have to be boring. On the way out, I grabbed a white sunhat just because, processed myself through the checkout and headed back out to the parking lot with a loaded cart and a smile that I noticed some men were returning.
Six hours later, deeply behind the lines of cottage country, I wondered if I shouldn't have had one of the twins bring the car behind. How were we going to resupply? Take the Columbia out every time? Then I began to worry about all the other things I probably forgot about before I left, though suddenly glad that I'd at least made a priority of properly shutting down the house.
These were also my worries at eleven fifty-three PM, as I rolled up to the gate at Victoria Park, right where the map said it would be. The gate attendant provided me with a new worry as he was locking up for the night. While the twins slept in the bunk beds to the rear, he told me that a reservation was required at least six months in advance to secure a lot for an RV. There were no penalty fees I could pay and no options. After convincing the now irritated attendant to guide me while I backed out to the secondary highway in the dark, I set off once again, this time without the foggiest clue as to where we were going.
I ended up at a dingy little fuel stop/convenience store on the side of the secondary highway, seemingly in the middle of the darkest nowhere on the planet but, incredibly, still open. I filled Columbia, went in and paid the rude, ferret faced old attendant, who said nothing in favour of staring at my chest, then moved us off to the edge of the parking lot for the night. It was late, I was tired and there was no point in going on without any idea where we were going.
After making sure all the doors and windows were locked, curtains drawn, I stripped down to my black panties in the rear bedroom and threw on a pink, satin babydoll to use for a nightgown, one I'd bought earlier that day which was obviously made for a woman with a smaller bust line, considering its lack of coverage. I crawled into the double bed at the very back, burrowing under the covers and closing my eyes, but not relaxing, thinking about going back, but I couldn't. The kids would think I was a total idiot. They might tell Kevin about the whole thing,... No, I had to go on because I was committed, wasn't I? I had just decided to check the map in the morning and make our way to a different campground when there was a loud rapping on the side of Columbia.
I was startled almost out of my wits. I scrambled for the housecoat I'd forgotten at home, hearing the twins also start awake.
"What's going on?" Jarid's still sleepy, but slightly alarmed voice asked in the dark.
"Hey!" somebody yelled angrily from outside.
"Dammit!" I hissed in irritation, turning on the light and grabbing a pair of white shorts I'd bought that day with the tags still on them. I quickly covered my panties with them and hurried to the door, telling the twins to stay where they were.
"Hey, come on!" the voice demanded.
"Just a minute!" I called, wondering what the problem was and why I didn't have some sort of defensive weapon inside the RV, such as a gun or-
I swished the window curtain aside on the door and beheld the convenience store attendant, staring back as if I'd just burnt his house. I opened the window so we could speak.
"Who in hell said you could park your piece o' shit here!?" he demanded.
"I- I'm sorry, I just assumed that it would be-"
"Well, if you don't mind, I'd rather you didn't assume shit on my property! Now get your shitbox outta here before I call the RCMP!"
"But, there's nowhere else. Where can I go to-?"
"That's your fuckin' problem, lady. You bought your gas, now fuck off!" he very helpfully offered before walking away.
I was shocked, to say the least. Who spoke to people like that? Sure it happened on Law & Order, but that was New York and,... Dammit!
I unlocked the door, opened it and walked right outside after him, completely forgetting about the bouncing, braless chest and cleavage my babydoll showed off so well in my frustration.
"Excuse me! I called as I walked around the Columbia, trying to sound assertive and not entirely succeeding.
He was halfway back to his store, not even turning to recognize my hail. At the spot lit pumps, moths flying frenziedly in the light above him, a man who looked to be in his forties was leaning back against a large, dark, four wheel drive pickup, holding the handle while he fueled. He watched as my little drama played out.
"Hey! I'm sorry I parked on your land without asking, but it's late and we don't have reservations,...! I'm willing to pay to park for the night!"
He only shook his head, never even turning around, muttering something about 'rich townie assholes'.
"Dammit!" I hissed again, disbelief added to my irritation while a lump formed in my throat.
This was supposed to be a fun getaway and, so far, it was a disaster. I felt like an idiot and resigned myself to getting back on the road, maybe back on the main highway to pull over at one of those horrible rest stops for the night, where people reportedly engaged in all kinds of sordid-
"Mom?" Jenifer's voice called.
I turned and they were both there. Jarid wore a pair of basketball shorts, Jenifer a pair of navy blue cotton shorts and a light blue T-shirt. I was about to ask what they were doing outside the camper when Jarid's eyes widened. I didn't get it at first, until it clicked in that he was looking at my chest.
"Oh,... shit!", I swore when I looked down at myself. That lump in my throat grew bigger as I threw my arm over my chest. At least my nipples weren't showing, only practically everything else north of the equator. "What are you two doing out here?"
"We heard yelling." Jarid explained, seeming to have recovered himself and wanting to 'change the subject', so to speak. "Where are we? Is this Victoria Park?" he asked while he looked around with a wrinkled upper lip.
"What do you think, genius?", Jenifer asked sarcastically.
"Stop it, you two, that's the last thing I need right now! Apparently, we should have had a reservation for Victoria Park at least six months ago and we can't get in.", I admitted as I walked towards them.
"Does that mean we can go back home?" Jenifer asked hopefully.
"No, it does not! We're finding somewhere else to camp, is all! I just need to get us somewhere we can rest for the night so I can figure it out in the morning. Now get back inside, I've got to get dressed and damned well under way again." I said, now more depressed than angry about the situation.
"Uhhh, 'scuse me?"
I turned, the kids with me to find the man who'd been fueling his truck had walked nearer. He wore a flat toed pair of boots that crunched in the gravel under the weight of his muscular frame. He seemed almost ruggedly handsome, but more in the sense that his face had character. Maybe it was the black, neatly trimmed goatee, or the straw cowboy hat crammed on his head. His height, at least six feet tall, and his size strangely didn't intimidate as his voice and mannerisms were very forward and seemingly,... normal. He stopped, a respectable distance of about ten feet, I noted, and spoke.
"Couldn't help overhearing your um,... situation. You probably mighta guessed this, but the people around here are assholes."
"Well, I'm becoming familiar with that fact, yes."
He laughed a little at this and added, "Don't expect any help from anyone around here, at all. Not till you get at least a hundred klicks out the road, here."
"Oh. Thank you. I take it you're not from around here."
He shook his head. "London."
"I'm sorry." he said with a smile."
I smiled myself at his joke, suddenly aware again of what I was wearing underneath my forearm.
"So, ah, there's nowhere else for a hundred kilometers?"
"I'm guessing the closest kind of place you're looking for is Barkers Point Park."
"The place on the TV commercials?"
"Yeah. You might even get in if there's been a cancellation. You'd be there in,... five hours, maybe less."
"I had no idea I had to have reservations for these- Well, I thought I'd just go to a nice place, pay to get in and be there."
"Oh, no. Best to travel with the RV convoys if you want to do that."
"Do you have an RV?"
"I got a trailer and a fifth wheel." he said, poking his thumb over his shoulder at the large truck, still at the pumps.