the night is quiet, everyone else is asleep. she sits still, calm as i balance myself on the arm of the same chair. "we've talked before," i muse, "but why does it seem so different?" disclosure is made so much easier when made behind the mask of distance and networks of telecommunication giants. she sighs and slumps back, closing her eyes hoping perhaps that i won't recognize the anticipation in her stance.
slumber, during the camp-outs, usually comes early after all the strenuous activities. but tonight, with the sky full of dark clouds and the air pierced by the stillness, four spirits found rest elusive. we sat quietlyl together in silence. the other two took out a guitar and strummed melodies nearby.
"how are you ?", i ask, staring straight out, finally finding the balance in my make-shift seat.
"not so hot Dean."
"yeah, i wasn't really asking. wanna talk about it?", i smile, craning my neck around to catch her eye.
"okay," i settle down, planting my feet on the ground in preparation for the tirade that was sure to follow.
"he thinks you're trying to steal me from him. STEAL. direct quote. exact word. copied and pasted off his stupid ego and macho crap. . .
. . . it's true. i have tons of other guy friends and he decides to pick on you. he picks on someone i barely even hang out with in person. someone who's actually considred to be more of his friend than mine. blithering idiot."
"Sam, if i had planned on stealing you from him, i would've done it a long time ago."
"listen, you should really talk to him. i mean, he has to realize that treating you like that is gonna kill your relationship. . .
. . .here. give me your hand. if you grip sand in a fist, like this, it trickles down through the cracks until almost nothing is left. see?
but if you hold it still, keep it open flat up, you lose nothing. you have all the sand you started with. and you can add even more, if you wanted."
she stares and i follow her gaze past the space, past the sand and all it stood for, to the image of our hands touching. she jerks her hand back, dusting it off, searching for something opposite me, anything.
"where are Jake and Sue?"
"over at the cottage playing the guitar."
"let's go over there."
"hey Dean, can i sleep on your lap? Jake won't let me use his for a pillow", says Sue in welcome.
"She's too heavy," Jake shrugs continuing to pluck a classic.
"sure Sue. come 'ere"
Sam watches Sue's head on my lap and then looks at me with eyes as mysterious as the night. i smile and she smiles back. nodding over to my lap, i offer her a spot opposite Sue. she smiles and shakes her head.
i continue to look at her, not smiling anymore, feeling everything i wasn't supposed to. i nod, beckoning her. she knows. i know she knows. her eyes search mine for the answers i can't give her. she shakes her head again, refusing the lap and leans her head against my shoulder. her breathing is light as if she were barely there. i keep from looking over at her for fear of finding her gone. she is light and all that is part of her is softness.
i take the courage to finally turn my head and look at her. she sleeps with her mouth open. her eyes move back and forth beneath her eyelids. she doesn't snore. her hair falls across her shoulders, across my shoulders. these are the tiny mementos i can keep. these are all that i can keep of her. when she wakes up in the morning, i won't be beside her. i know that she knows now. i love her. i love her enough to leave in the morning.