Tonight, was the night. The meteor shower we had waited for was finally here. It took months of preparation, but we were finally ready for our camping trip. I had a painting that needed to be done. My client wanted a starry night waterfall scene. My best friend, practically my sister offered to photograph the astronomical wonder, in our campground. Kenz mentioned it even had a waterfall nearby that we could get pictures of as well.
I was excited to get out but had a minor fear that screamed in the back of my mind. Firewall would be out there somewhere probably murdering more innocent people, and I had no plans to cross his path. I hoped we could get out to our campground before anything crazy happened.
I picked up the large black duffel that held our tent and tried to gently toss it in the back of the truck. It was heavy and standing at only five foot three inches, the enormous black vehicle did not make packing very easy. I didn’t let that stop me though. “Was that the last of it?” I called out to Kenz. I tried to grab everything, but size does matter sometimes.
“Yeah I think so. Oh yeah I grabbed you’re purse too Lyssa.” Her high-pitched adorable voice chimed across the driveway. She moved around the front of the truck and into my view. She was taller than me by a little, and had a perfect pear-shaped body, but she looked cuter than I could ever achieve. Her eyes were sapphires and were enhanced by the waterfalls of cyan that framed her face and hung to her hips. Today she wore a plaid Lolita dress, and some red and black striped stockings to match. She wore thick black boots and matching laced gloves. Not exactly camping attire, but not everyone expects goths to camp.
I was jealous. Her skin was always pale and porcelain, even when she spent most of her day outside with her plants. She had studied botany for a while, but found she was happier when she wasn’t tied to a single profession. She was a jack-of-all-trades. She could do many things and took many small jobs as a makeup artist, chef, house-cleansing gypsy, and photographer.
She led an interesting life, and I was happy that she was my friend. Of all the people I met, she was the one who stuck. Her passion for and skill in photography fueled and progressed my career as a painter. I couldn’t have done it without her. The emotion she could catch in a picture would influence the feelings I painted into the canvas.
Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t bad looking. My skin was still pale but didn’t look as crystal as hers. My vibrant pastel pink hair hung naturally wavy to the middle of my back, it was always perfectly pink, thanks to some amazing conditioner. I was short, and petite, but I suppose that’s something you’d expect from an ex-circus contortionist.
She opened the door and threw our purses in the truck. As she turned back to look at me her cyan locks swayed behind her, seeming to constantly dance in her shadow. Why can’t I be that cute? I thought as I awkwardly stared at her. She looked picture perfectly animated with everything she did. “So, drinks, food, ice, and then time to get the fuck out of here, right?” she asked, obviously excited to get on the road after the months of planning and waiting.
“Yeah I think that’s about all we need.” I was trying to go through everything in my head, but I could plan this trip for a year, and still forget half of my stuff. I pulled myself up into the passenger side of the massive truck and buckled myself in as Kenz turned the key. The vehicle roared to life and scared the both of us as insanely loud music began bursting through the speakers. “Fuck! Why do you do that?” I screamed over the aggressive sounds as I rushed to turn the volume down.
“Gomenasai!” Kenz spoke in her cutest voice, as she pulled her hand back and bowed slightly, apologizing like a Japanese anime character. Now, with my newfound freedom of not having to fumble with the other persons hand, I finally turned the volume down.
“Just turn that shit down before you turn the truck off.” I yelled not realizing how loud my voice was in the moment.
“I know, I just forget.” She sounded so innocent, and we both began to laugh. She’s so ridiculous. I shook my head.
I watched stores, and buildings fly by as we roamed across the roads, I had seen the towering constructs, and buzz of people throughout the city so often, it had all seemed the same to me now, no matter what city you were in. We stopped at a small convenience store, to grab drinks, gas, and ice for the cooler. We opened our door and trekked across the lot and into the shop. Inside looked like your basic convenient store. Various items littered the shelves, and refrigerators bordered the back wall. It smelled like hot dogs and was a little warmer than comfortable.
I grabbed some barbecue chips. I knew Kenz hated them and wouldn’t steal them from me. She even scuffed as I picked up the bag. I picked up a little candy. I decided to go with caramel apple suckers. I got bored, and for some reason, suckers curbed my habit of fiddling with things constantly. Next I added a few drinks. Some water in a cool square bottle. It was advertised as being from some island. I also grabbed a lemonade and a green tea. I wasn’t big into soda, but I could super get down on some lemonade. Finally, I grabbed a sub sandwich, Italian style. I hadn’t eaten that day so I probably should, especially since we had beer in the cooler. I was ready to chill and drink a little under the stars
Ready to go, I moved toward the register. I froze, and then quickly hid. I wasn’t sure what they were talking about, but my best friend was flirting with the guy behind the counter and I was not about to interrupt them. She was what she called asexual. She had no preference in love. She loved people of any gender; she didn’t care. If you were happy with yourself, and if you’d cuddle her, she was content. However, she had no interest in sex at any time ever. I couldn’t understand that, but I loved her for her. I’d die. It had been three years since I was in a relationship, and that was way to long for me. I was already exhibiting signs of desperation, and I was embarrassed because of it, but what’s a goth girl supposed to do?
The man she was conversing with was tall and thin. His hair was black and rested on his shoulders. He wore some thick black eyeliner that made his blue eyes explode. Around his neck hung a black collar with large spikes protruding from it. A small ring hung from the center of his nose. If he wasn’t so thin, he’d be kind of cute. I thought. He had a dark, gothic, vampire look about him. “Shut up brain, don’t even think that.” I whispered to myself. Yeah but come on, he’s like an actual guy, and it’s not like you get out much. “Shhh.” I quietly shushed myself and stood there confused for a moment. “Any guy Kenz is into is super off the table. No exceptions.” I whispered and the thoughts ceased.
I felt slightly insane and peaked over the top of the shelf on my toes afraid they had heard me. They were still talking. Good. As I looked, a small elderly woman in a floral gown, with curly white hair turned the corner and walked behind me. I was caught, I tried to appear like I was completely normal, and maybe I was just looking for a friend, but the store was small, and I realized I just looked ridiculous. I was overcome with embarrassment and slunk to the back of the store.
I wandered for a few more minutes, before beginning to feel uncomfortable with pacing around the small building, and I kept running into the elderly woman. We would stand there and exchange awkward glances before continuing our own business, and it felt more awkward each time it happened.
I know it was cute, but I was ready to get out of here and get our camp set up. We had already waited so long for this day, and I felt like I couldn’t wait any longer. The man behind the counter glanced at me, and something about his look was cold, and sent shivers down my back. Had the woman said something?
I approached the counter and set my items on it. The guy laughed and began scanning while continuing to talk with Kenz. Rude, but still kind of cute. I thought to myself.
“Well I hope you guys have a fantastic time. Bear creek, right?” His voice was rough and sounded perfect for a movie trailer.
“Yeah we are super excited to get some good shots of the showers.” Kenz pointed down at her enormous camera hanging from her neck by a strap.
“Well, be wary of big cats. They’ve been pretty, crazy out here lately.”
“Thanks, we’ll be sure to.” She responded and then smiled in a way I hadn’t seen her do in a very long time.
We grabbed our items and made our way out the door. I noticed Kenz wave at the guy as we left, and when I turned my head back to see his response; locked eyes with the elderly woman one last time. I awkwardly turned around as quick as I could. Last thing to do was to fill the truck with gas and go.
Kenz handed me her bags and I got in the vehicle. She proceeded to fill it with gas while I separated our items and distributed them in their proper places. I had a system. Drinks in the cup holders, snack on the middle seat, meals in the back. We had a three-hour drive to get out to the campsite we wanted, so snacks and drinks were a must, at least in my opinion. I had just finished separating everything when Kenz jumped back in. “Ready to get the hell out of dodge?”
“God yes let’s go.” I responded anxiously. The truck roared to life once again, and we turned onto the highway to leave town. Driving in the city was so boring, but the moment we hit the outskirts I always seemed to catch myself in awe. The valleys we lived in stretched for miles, to the base of the enormous blue mountains that sat proud in the distance. I pulled out my sketchbook and started doing some quick drawings of the mountain view. It was beautiful from here, and we’d be there in a few hours, making the climb to our camping spot.
As we passed further into the country the scenery became ever more beautiful. Deep creeks, and winding rivers whisked around us creating a rhythm as large pines danced with the aspens. Occasionally through the trees you could spot chipmunks, deer, turkeys and various other wildlife. We were even lucky enough to drive by a massive bull elk. His masquerade of branches blended with his antlers and hid him almost entirely from view. I tried to sketch the things we passed and incorporate them into the one picture. Mountains in the background, framed by trees leading your eyes to the never-ending river that pours over a ledge into a glossy lake. It gave life to the creatures I drew in its midst.
We climbed the mountain pass with our windows down, feeling the cool breeze, and inhaling the crisp mountain air. I put my sketchbook away and enjoyed the atmosphere. Something always just felt right for me about being in nature. It was invigorating. Eventually, we pulled into the camping spot we had scoped out long beforehand. The truck came to a stop near a small grouping of trees. “We’re here!” Kenz exploded with excitement as she stripped the life from the vehicle.
“Right, finally. I mean the trip is beautiful, but I’m glad to just be here.” I crawled out of the truck; my legs tired from the consistent sitting. “So, you want to get right into setting up? Or do you want to smoke a bowl first?” I hinted at Kenz.
“Super down for a bowl.” She spoke as she tossed a small glass pipe to me. I ground up some of the sticky green bud and packed it into the piece of glass.
“You got a—” I stopped interrupted as Kenz held a lighter out to me. “Just kidding.” We laughed as I took the lighter from her and lit the bowl. The herb turned black, and the pipe filled with smoke. I took my finger off the carb and inhaled the sweet delicious cloud. I savored the product as I passed the chalice to Kenz.
God this was good. Being out in nature, smoking some weed with my best friend, about to watch some meteors. We finished the bowl and began to set up camp. I pulled out the large yellow tent Kenz and I were to sleep in and set it up in the flattest place we could find. “Good thing modern technology has brought us air mattresses, so we don’t have insanely fucked backs tomorrow.” I spoke as we worked.
“Right! I was totally thinking the same thing.” Kenz giggled, and we continued setting up our temporary home.
We finished and had started a fire, reminiscing over stories about how we had first met at a park a few years back. We roasted hot dogs over the fire, and once we had our fill, switched to smores. The flames cracked and popped, lighting our campground, and filling it with that unique smell only campfires boast.
It was finally getting dark now, and we were excited to get these pictures taken. Kenz set up her camera and we walked a small distance from our camp to a little clearing between the trees. We opened some fold-able camp chairs and got comfortable. We had been waiting for months and finally it was time to witness the shower.