“This is nice,” I say, patting Virgil’s knee.
He grunts in a way that tells me my intrepid man is dissatisfied just sitting around the campsite. I take a deep breath. Dare I ask what he’d rather be doing? Dare I not?
I don’t want the dear man bored. Life is too short. And I’d much rather get off my backside than have him insist on going back to work. His father worked until the day he died and I want more for us. Besides, Virgil’s mother made me promise to someday make my husband retire and do the things of which she’d always dreamed.
Like camping for days at a time.
“You want to go for a walk?” I ask. “Or maybe take a drive?”
His face lights up, visibly erasing a decade off his age. I can’t help chuckling. The years have flown by, with plenty of amusing adventures sprinkled in despite his busy career.
“I’m just remembering the time we got lost in that reserve.”
“Geez, how long ago was that?”
Standing, he stretches his arms toward the sky. I can hear those shoulders pop from here.
“Ten years. Can you believe it?”
His gaping expression is comical. I don’t laugh. The man’s eyebrows have grown into a thicket while the hair on his head recedes further every year, yet I still see the features of the teenager who stole my heart. I used to go blocks out of my way to intercept his walk home from school when the year between our ages saw him still in junior high when I started high school.
“Well, time moves on,” he opines. “And on that note, we have plenty of daylight left for a hike if we get going.”
I try not to groan, gathering myself from the comfortable seat. The exercise will be good for me. It only takes me a few minutes to gather some things.
“We’re going for a stroll, not an overnight excursion,” he teases.
It probably is overkill to take the first aid kit, but my mother’s voice always tells me a person can’t be too careful. Unfortunately, I’m so busy stocking my little backpack for unforeseen calamities that I forget my cellular phone. And Virgil didn’t even remember to bring his along on this camping trip.
We have a repeat of the decade before, getting lost for hours longer than we planned to be gone. But we do find our way to the road before dark. And I thought to take trail mix, so we didn’t even go hungry.
As I lay in my sleeping bag later that night, I imagine us laughing about this in another ten years.***