What We Would Both MissbyWFEATHER©
It was the final night of our weeklong canoeing trip. In the morning, we would have just three more miles to travel on the river until we arrived at the public campground where my fiancée's sister would be meeting us to take us back to reality, back to society and bills and jobs and traffic jams and innumerable rude people in the city.
I was not looking forward to that return.
I was also not really looking forward to wearing actual clothing again. For the entirety of our journey, my "attire" had consisted of swim trunks and sandals, and occasionally a t-shirt at night. Aura's "attire" had been similar: bikini, sandals, perhaps a t-shirt at night, and the silver belly chain which she always wore regardless of the occasion.
Dinner finished, the tent erected near the tree line, the canoe firmly beached on the sand, the meager food and other smellables hung up in a bear bag, I returned to the small fire built earlier by the river. Aura sat watching the flames dance before her, her forearms resting upon her knees with her chin resting upon her forearms. This time, she wore no sandals, only the dark-green bikini and the faded white Lara Croft t-shirt she so loved... and, certainly, the belly chain hidden from my view by the t-shirt. The small portable radio was beside her in the sand, a slow violin solo playing softly on the classical station. The expression on Aura's face was one of sadness, an expression I never liked to see but one which was most likely mirrored upon my own face.
The evening chores finished, I kicked off my sandals into the tent and strode across the tall cool grass and onto the warmer sand. The sand between my toes felt nice, but I knew that this would be my last opportunity to feel it until the following summer, when Aura and I planned to repeat this journey – albeit on a different section of the river – for our honeymoon.
I finally knelt behind my fiancée and snaked my arms between her thighs and her stomach, holding her lovingly, rocking her gently. "Must we really return tomorrow?" she asked quietly, disappointment in her voice.
"I'm afraid so," I replied. "Unless the city gets overrun with Martians during the night, we need to go back tomorrow. But at least your sister isn't due to pick us up until 4PM, so we'll still have much of the day to ourselves."
"True," Aura replied. "When would be the latest we would need to leave here to meet her on time?"
I thought for a moment. "If we really pushed hard, we could leave here as late as 3PM, but I'm not sure we really should do that. I'd say Noon is the latest we should leave, which would allow us a much more leisurely trip to the campground. Plus, it would allow us time to get off the river for an hour or so if a thunderstorm rolls through in the afternoon like it did a few days ago."
Leaning back into me, Aura caressed my arms. She sighed sadly, echoing my feelings. "At least we'll be back here next summer," she offered, perhaps more for her own benefit.
"Exactly," I replied, giving her a gentle squeeze. "We'll be back on the river for our honeymoon. I know it's unconventional for a honeymoon, but it will be wonderful, just like this week has been."
"I'm not worried about being conventional or unconventional," she stated honestly, reiterating a point I already knew quite well. "If we must leave the river tomorrow, I only hope the next twelve months pass quickly. I like the freedom of being out of the city, away from the noise and the smog and the rudeness. I like having Nature as my dwelling, not some tiny apartment because that is all we can afford because of the high cost of rent and food. I like traveling with only one other person, not being shoehorned into a subway car. And most of all, I really prefer wearing just a bikini instead of business attire every day... especially those damned heels!!!"
I simply held her for a long time, my chin atop her head, my hands caressing her tenderly. The final hint of daylight long disappeared from the sky, I held her underneath the stars, the moon large and full as it slowly rose above the tree line. The crackle of the fire, the whisper of the wind in the trees, and the bubbling of the river were the only sounds, and they all added to the scene, both enhancing our final night alone in the wilderness and sadly reminding us of what we would both miss about this week once we returned to society.