Whilst camping

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

When she comes back from the shower the rest of the family are nowhere to be seen. Whilst she’d been down where the shower was, in the clearing by the playground, she’d heard their voices carried along on the breeze – the little boy proclaiming his pride at the makeshift teepee his father had built with him this morning, and the daughter trying to get her dad’s attention so she could relate some anecdote about the just-completed school year. The woman had heard all this and was, truth be told, a little grateful for her few minutes alone,to think thoughts of nothing much as she lathered her beach-dirty hair.

She’s walked up to where the tent is and found their camp deserted. Whilst busying herself with sun lotion and hanging her towel on a line strung between two trees, she expects to hear them, or rather the war whoop of the little boy as he hurtles ahead. Still nothing.

The woman rummages in the tent for her book, past sleeping bags as tangled as she and the man had been the night before, and as she does so the thought flashes across her mind: they have gone. They have upped and left, with all the camping accoutrements abandoned. Else they have been spirited away, this man and his noisy children. All she can hear is birds, the hum of insects, and nothing else of consequence. Even as she dismisses her more paranoid imaginings, she finds herself stranded in the void between certainty and doubt.

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