Wednesday, 18 July 2012
“So? What’s in the bag?” Lucas asked me a while later, the strain between the boys fizzling out as we began heading back down the dirt road into Marshall Woods.
“Umm….. I don’t know?” I answered his question. My eyes flicking between Daniel and Lucas, waiting to see if I needed to be a deterrent to violence if they decided to snap at each other again.
“Well, you could try looking in the bag” Daniel snarkily suggested.
Glowering at the back of his head, I reluctantly conceded to myself that he was right, if I wanted to know what was in the bag I was going to have to open it. Forgetting where I left it in the jeep when I made my speedy exit to empty my stomach, I began looking around for the bag. With no luck, I started checking under the seats.
“Are you serious? You lost it?” Daniel sneered in disgusted disbelief as he shifted in his seat.
Looking up from the floor at Daniel with narrowed eyes I clipped out “I. didn’t. Lose it.”
“You make us drive all the way to your house for a stupid bag and then you lose it?” Daniel continued to chastise.
“Ease up Dani, I highly doubt she lost it.” Lucas piped in defensively.
Tuning them both out as my hands continued to feel around the jeep’s dirty floor. I finally felt the soft velvet of the bag brush against my fingertips. Pulling the bag out from under Daniel’s seat I leaned over the middle between them.
“Well look at that.” I sing-songed, dangling the black bag in front of him from the back. “I didn’t lose it, it just fell under the seat. Jackass” I added, righting myself in my seat.
Openly snickering, Lucas parked the jeep in the same small clearing as before. Emptying out the jeep, I held unto the bag with a vice grip and stood back as both Daniel and Lucas retrieved my luggage and theirs from the jeeps tray. Setting the bags aside I helped them to throw back the branches on the jeep, making it a little less noticeable in the middle of the woods.
Hooking the bag’s drawstring around my wrist, I grabbed the handles of my luggage bags with each hand and tried to wheel them back to the cottage on the uneven forest floor. I must have taken ten frustrating steps before I felt my luggage bags being pulled out of my grasp. Spinning round I watched as Daniel and Lucas each hoisted a luggage bag over their shoulder and strode forward without a backward glance at me.
“Thank You!” I loudly said to no one in particular as both of them sauntered off into the shadowed trees.
Stepping back, I decided to head off on my own instead of following them back to the cottage. Turning in the opposite direction, I followed the faint and hypnotic rhythm of cascading water as I made my way to the waterfall.
Walking over to the bank, I climbed onto one of the larger boulders on the edge of the waterfalls natural pool. Pulling off my shoes and the bag from around my wrist I sat them both down next to me as I dipped my feet into the cool, crystalline water. Staring at my square cut, black polished toe nails beneath the water, I tried to think about how the polish was beginning to chip or how if you listen closely, you can hear the small forest animals scurrying around. Anything to stop myself from thinking about the fire again or my grandfather or how more and more, I was starting to feel like my life was a hidden lie.
The owner of this house died in the fire. He didn’t have any relatives or known family.
My thoughts flickered back to what happened only a few hours ago, the officer’s words lingering in my head.
No relatives or family? I was gramps family. Everyone knew I was his granddaughter. He came to every PTA meeting to meet my teachers. When we first moved to the neighborhood, gramps made it his mission to say hi to everyone on our street and invite them over for a house warming barbeque.
I frustratingly thought. Just when I thought I had at least one answer, five more questions pop up demanding to be resolved.
Shaking out the thoughts that had involuntarily began to form, I reached back and pulled my hair loose from its tie. Letting it fall to the middle of my back, I slipped my wrist into the hair tie so I wouldn’t lose it. I should have cut it before I went on my trip, it would have been a lot more manageable but gramps use to always say that I reminded him of mom with it was like this.
Smiling at the thought, I ran my fingers through the it's length before laying back on the sun warmed rock. Closing my eyes I let the natural heat seep through my shirt to my skin. It wasn’t long before I felt the soothing warmth growing against my back, the temperature quickly rising, forcing beads of sweat to form on every inch of my skin. I tried to get up but I couldn’t. I faintly heard my named being called in the background but all efforts to respond failed until I felt steady hands grip my shoulders and shake me. My eyes snapped open and almost immediately I felt the molten heat dissipate back to normal.
Shielding my eyes from the descending sun I looked up at Daniel slouching over me, his brows pulling together in worry.