Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chapter 141: Pancakes

On the morning of August 17th, 2010, I awoke to a strange, unearthly grumble. Sitting up, I eyed my sister suspiciously, but—somehow—it wasn't her surprisingly sonorous snoring. Emerging from my Tarptent into a thick, soupy fog, I quickly deduced that it wasn't Fredo, either, as his hammock was strung up a conscientious and considerate twenty yards away. Nor was it the spectacularly reverberating apneas of all those snotty, southbound section hikers who had so courteously occupied all the space in the nearby Pierce Pond Lean-to the night before. The family of loons bobbing along serenely through the mist on the adjacent lake were similarly guiltless.

Who—or what—was causing this ungodly noise?


Okay, so I could continue on in that vein, explaining in my typically florid way that the "strange, unearthly grumble" was just my stomach growling. (Ha ha, what a funny joke!) And how Hot Sauce, Fredo and I eventually enjoyed a "lumberjack breakfast" at the Harrison Camps that morning, to satiate my growing hunger. But I won't. Because who—except possibly food fetishists and hipsters with internet cooking shows—really cares about that sort of thing, or wants to hear about it in such exhaustive detail? (FYI, the lumberjack breakfast was a stack of twelve gigantic pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, and whipped butter, smothered in maple syrup, with a side of fried eggs and more coffee than any of us could ever drink. Not that we didn't try.)

I could also tell you about our momentous crossing of the Kennebec River, which involved getting a canoe ride from an obese mountain man in tattered sweat pants who seemed to have an entire family of birds nesting in his beard, and may have been a serial killer. Or at least a not-so-distant relative of one. But I won't do that either.

I could tell you about the trail magic we encountered later, just south of US201. Actually, I will: we found a cooler beside the trail containing an assortment of candy bars and soda and even a couple cans of Keystone Light®. For whatever reason—but probably because he's a selfish bastard—Fredo took all the beers, then giggled sadistically when we ran into a couple of SOBOs later on who were looking forward to getting some. Naturally, we didn't tell them there weren't any left, but cruelly sent them on towards their inevitable disappointment.

I could tell you how I may or may not have accidentally stolen some trail maintainer's gorp at the Pleasant Pond Lean-to. (I mean, who leaves a giant stuff-sack full of delicious, delicious trail mix unattended and expects it not to get stolen?) But I certainly won't do that. (Too unbelievable. Like I would ever do such a thing.)

I could even tell you how Fredo, Hot Sauce and I first met Matterhorn—an annoyingly spry and well-equipped section hiker from Switzerland—and stayed with him at the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to after hiking up in the dark singing John Legend songs.

But my heart just isn't in it.

Instead, I'll leave you with excerpt from Rutledge Sandybottom's excessively, er, florid, probably pretty bad Repressed Desire:
It's late, and we're on a long drive to nowhere in the dark. Your headlights sweep past eerily familiar street signs, long rows of seemingly empty houses, bereft of any signs of life. The silence between us fills with bittersweet reminiscence, regret, and longing—both for past glory, and for a future that might never be.

I catch you glancing at me from across the car. You look away quickly, abashed. But I'm the one who should be ashamed. I'm the one who's staring.

Before, I might have felt the warmth of your breath on my cheek, your hand tugging on my shirt, and the brush of your lips against mine, as I leaned into you, pushing you back into the door of your car.

But no, I lacked the courage. To touch you. Instead, I just stood back and watched as you searched through your purse for your keys. Admiring your figure in the soft glow of the streetlamp overhead. Alone together in the parking lot, intoxicated by your closeness, by the way the your dress clung to your body from the sweat.

The sweat of the dance, the drinks, the laughter... The furtive looks, shared in secret, across the table, through the crowd.

And my memory of all else fades, crushing into a swirling vortex of you. The twinkle in your eyes, the crooked curve of your smile. And suddenly I'm back in the car, short of breath, pulse pounding in my neck.

Meeting your eyes, seeing your breasts heave with every breath, I wonder if you've felt the same.
Ew. Best leave that there.

Tomorrow, a special treat, and back to the business at hand...

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