Before school again, there were five days in the mountains, just five, and nine of us, and then one black bear, which was a surprise. On the fourth day, the fog enveloped a small peak we easily summited, called Garfield, which was an unremarkable name for a mountain on what was otherwise a remarkable day.
On Garfield, it was difficult to see beyond ourselves, perhaps impossible, and thus we jumped up and down, willing our bodies to stay as long as possible in the wind. To speak, we huddled in a concrete structure at the peak, four-sided but open to the sky. A-L asked who we might wanna have dinner with––anyone, you know, dead or alive,
and as the fog overtook us, I understood that the answer to the question would always be those people who in the end I would realize I never asked enough questions to, and never the right ones.
All these people I’ve had plenty of dinners with, across from, perhaps some silent, forks clinking, and yes never enough. And I know I will feel that way more as time goes on, not less, and especially once they are dead, and especially when I am dying too.
Which probably will come, not in airplanes or lightning, not even trucks or cars too soon––though maybe, if unlucky, which so far I am not.
Imagine us, from space, nine stupid children. Sheltered ones. All between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two and all of us breaching it sometimes, but still so unaware. Imagine us, up there––anything could come down, lay its hand upon us, touch us––and yet nothing did. Not even rain touched us that afternoon.
Like always, we ate much peanut butter, sriracha, and carbohydrates with slimy cheese. There were burnt pancakes on a morning it rained too hard for sunrise.
Late August in the White Mountains, we lost our voices to a black bear who did not even pretend to care for us, who sauntered away towards a river that came to my thighs, to wet my shorts when we crossed it, and cooled my feet in the early morning, when we were on our way.