A Weekend at the Lake
YOU’RE PULLING INTO THE CAMPGROUND, you and Joe, and it’s almost unbearable, how stricken it looks. Sure, the poplars are budding, willows swell yellow, but it’s not enough, the impression is of winter rather than spring, so many trees and shrubs still pared back to their branches and the sky churning grey, clouds ripping themselves into rags. No different than the landscape driving up, what else did you expect? But you must have been hoping. Imagining.
And not a single other person anywhere. Two round tents at lake’s edge—one red, one blue—swaying in the wind with a show of bravado but canvas chairs in front of them slouched, unoccupied. A teardrop trailer around the curve is shuttered. The vacancy is so immense you feel it will flatten you like cardboard over the damp leafclotted earth. Thirty sites cut into these sparse woods, each marked by a rusted firepit and picnic table that repeat like ditto marks around you, that speak not of waiting as much as desertion.
I just don’t feel like it, you say. I feel like turning around and driving back to the city.
Your husband sighs. He stretches the sigh as far as it will go, as if to make clear the continuum of impatience to patience you involve, such a fool to expect heat and bloom and people this early in the season. As if to remind you of everything you’ve ever said. Said this morning in fact, that you could hardly wait to begin camping again.
But he knows what you mean. We’re ahead of the pack by a month, he says, that’s all.
Nothing for it then but to get set up. He maneuvers the trailer into a site with his usual furrowed concentration, you slide the logs
behind the wheels, unlock the electrical compartment, plug the cord into power. He levels the trailer, you bring out the chairs and tablecloth, spread the mat under the stepdown. You unroll the awning together, haul the table under it. Then he hooks you for a hug, says, It’s going to be okay. He squeezes you like a wish, or maybe inspiration.
You walk to the lake. The water is slate-coloured, rough, unappealing under the wind. A field of crevices. You need something from this view, a dose of perseverance perhaps, but it isn’t there. You remember Joe saying it’s hard for him lately to keep up with your shifts in mood. The shifts exhaust you too, you said, and in case he hadn’t noticed, you’re steadier by the day—aren’t you? Before you know it, you said, you’ll be boring and predictable again. He said it couldn’t happen soon enough.
The water rolls and rolls, it chafes as if upset. You remember a television movie you and Joe saw once about a murder at a campground, a woman’s body sprawled in a canoe. Killed by something blunt and brutal, probably the straight edge of an axe. Waves rocking the canoe, tipping it up, tipping it back, almost prettily in fact, except for the horror inside. Based on an actual event, the credits said, and you remember how helpless, how limp, the body was and you can’t stop watching, though you should, and your heart rears, it clatters, you hear it pound outside your chest, you feel you could die though you aren’t even close, you’ve been through this before. You lunge to the children’s play structure behind you and grab for a bar. You’re breathing hard and you count as you breathe and your heart creeps back into its cavity and becomes itself again, a quiet and submissive organ beating its lovely regular beat. Your breath alongside turns regular too, as if nothing was the matter, except for the residue of shame that clings to you like grit and reminds you of the time you and Sophie crawled through a culvert on a dare, claustrophobia like talcum powder up your nostrils. She was older so she went first, your big brave sister, and when she emerged on the other side, she said, Easy peasy, Elly!
You make yourself walk back to the water. You plant yourself at the edge like a maritime woman, long-suffering and rigid, whose gaze pierces and searches the sea even though she knows someone she loves will never return, will never be a speck of possibility bobbing on the horizon.
When you return to your site, Joe asks if there’s something going on at the lake, you were gone an awfully long time, and you say no,
nothing in particular, but you feel stronger now and you ask if he recalls that movie about the murder at a campground.
He says it sounds vaguely familiar.
The really scary thing about camping, you say, is that everyone has access to an axe.
He’s placing kindling in a teepee shape but he lifts his head as if to study you, as if he recorded your sentence and has to rewind it. Hey, he finally says.
What I mean is, if we yell, will anybody hear us? There’s no one around.
We won’t be yelling.
I know, but if.
Don’t worry don’t worry don’t worry, you say. I’m not afraid. He grunts.
Really, I’m not. You were afraid at the lakeside but you aren’t afraid now.
He strikes a match, the kindling catches. She wasn’t murdered, he says, she died of cancer.
You let his statement rest a while, as if to prove your forbearance. He adds wood, places it carefully. Your Joe is tall and lean, but hunched to his project he looks bean-baggy misshapen. Then you ask him why he supposed you’d been thinking of your sister.
He shrugs, says it’s where you always go. Tangentially, at least. Tangentially. Good word, Joe. You like words, you notice them. Your interest in words sometimes saves you from impasse.
He spreads his hands wide over the flames as if he’s come out of the cold. Besides, he says, that movie happened in the States. Minnesota, I think.
Minnesota isn’t that far from Manitoba.
Hey. Like a warning this time.
You ought to inform him about his overuse of hey. Has he any idea how often it comes out of his mouth?
It seems too much effort, however, for the end of an afternoon, the end of a week. You would have to produce a list: the range of meanings a single three-letter word can carry when employed by a spouse. He works for Hydro, he started in a truck, out and about troubleshooting, but soon he landed in the office to supervise, and all because of his penchant for category as a concept. You would have to categorize, explain which meanings you prefer (those implying
delight) and which ones not so much (when condescending). A load of hey, you ought to say, but that would be an effort too, even if you bantered back and forth comfortably driving up. The release you feel when you leave the city, fifth-wheel trailer in tow, is important, he gets it too. You camp to escape one set of routines and enter another. When the fire burns down a bit you’ll grill pie-iron sandwiches. After supper you’ll sit and read, or talk if you’re lucky. On the first night you always make love. Camping sex seems blissfully adolescent, original somehow, the cozy make-do bed on the trailer’s upper ledge, the foam mattress. Like playing house.
He gets up to split more wood and touches your shoulder in passing. Perhaps he’s thinking of sex and pie-iron sandwiches too. Sex, most likely.
I know, I know, you say. Sophie’s too much on my mind, I know. But how you get to a movie, a rather dumb movie if I recall— Stop worrying, Joe! You hear your voice and it’s florid, as unattractive as a rash.
I didn’t mean worrying the way you mean it. I mean concerned. As if anyone can stop what shows up in their head! I doubt if you can, Joe. I had a premonition, you know, that Sophie would die. Two weeks before her diagnosis. I was grocery shopping, scrutinizing bran flakes in fact, and there it was, Sophie’s going to die.
This is the first time I’m hearing this.
Yes, and it—
But it only stayed with you because two weeks later—
My point exactly.
But it made no difference, he says, whether you thought it or not. It wasn’t causation.
Causation! Ha, good one, Joe.
He does that grimace thing with his face.
So maybe the movie is nothing, you say, but we’ll have to be careful. We’re kind of alone out here.
He sighs again, says nothing’s going to happen.
Joe, I know.
The wind has calmed, the air feels warmer than before. A pair of geese flies over, lowers to rushes in a cove of the lake. They honk continuously, as if to prompt or console each other. You’d like to insert the word marriage into the moment, or even a word like nice, but you don’t, you follow the progress of the geese in silence until they land. You sense that Joe is aware of them too. I thought grief would be like
losing something valuable, you say. I never imagined it would be like fear.
Quickly you add, I’m not afraid at the moment though. Just making an observation.
And then, as if to relieve, or maybe unnerve you again, a monster motorhome pulls into the campground. The setting sun catches the side of it full-on and it hurts your eyes.
Straight off the line, Joe says. Forty feet and all the bells and whistles.
You say you really love your antiquated little trailer, but he’s admiring the RV, which winds its way around the place only to stop smack at the site across from yours.
Looks like we’ve got neighbours, he says. Close enough to hear us.
Jeepers, Joe, don’t make fun of me, please. But this is like cotton candy in your mouth, you’re glad you can take some kidding.
So the neighbours have parked and begin to settle in and since the fire is low and perfect for marshmallows, Joe fetches them from the trailer, and you each roast a few, but you’re staring at the couple across from you. You don your sunglasses so they won’t know. About the age of you and Joe, maybe five, ten years away from retirement. No children with them either. The man seems pleased with the site, sweeps an arm over the whole campground as if to gather it in. The woman looks skeptical. Snobbish, you suppose, though you can’t always tell. Could be timid inside. Could be petrified. The man is large. Burly—beefy the better word—but smartly dressed. Not for camping, though. For an executive game of golf. The woman much smaller. Short black hair. Too black. Probably dyed. Dressed up too. Pants and sweater matching in ecru or tawny, some sophisticated colour like that. They’re nothing like you and Joe in your jeans and matching brown plaid jacket-shirts, in which you also garden. Shirts saturated with the smell of dirt and smoke.
You think the newcomers have glanced your way so you wave and call hello. They ignore you. Joe tugs the brown blistering skin off a hot marshmallow, pops it in his mouth. They’re busy, he says, you can meet them later.
If I want to. They’re unfriendly, that’s what.
The woman unfurls a blue rug at the foot of their camper door and spreads a cloth in matching blue over the picnic table. The man
opens compartments around the sides of the motorhome, takes out a barbecue and then a bundle of wood, stacks it beside the fire pit. Tips an axe against it. The axe handle is very black and shiny, conspicuous against the wood. It seems as fresh off the line as the motorhome. The man rubs his hands, then climbs a ladder up the side of their unit and fiddles with the satellite dish. The woman has gone inside but he calls Mary! and she opens the door, speaks, and he climbs down. He’s agile for his size. And then Mary’s at the door again, calling Harry to the man.
Oh good grief, you say, low and sideways to your husband, don’t you find it peculiar when a couple’s names rhyme? Harry and Mary over there. It’s just weird. One of them should switch their name around somehow.
Joe’s back at his book, one of John Grisham’s lawyer mysteries, but he looks up, says, You have the strangest thoughts. He’s grinning though.
And oh good grief again, Mary has come to the door with two white pots, brimming with purple petunias. Obviously lush from a greenhouse. Now I’ve seen everything, you say. These aren’t seasonal sites, are they, Joe?
His head stays down this time, he wants to read. You watch Harry take the flowers, balance them on his palms while Mary pulls two stumps out of the wood compartment. She holds them away from her body as if they’re contagious. She manages them both to the campsite opening, sets them upright. Harry places the flowers on these pedestals. Mary examines the effect from several angles, and Harry does too, as if he’s tied to her. As if he cares. His scrutiny is mannered, there’s some tension over there.
But the petunias are thick and exuberant. There’s no denying they add a homey touch, you can give credit where credit is due. It might be fun to bring flowers next time too. But honestly, how much home do you drag along camping to get the feel of home?
You’ll have to ask Sophie. It’s a clever question, exactly the sort of domestic-philosophical question she’ll appreciate.
Oh God! When when when will you stop forgetting that Sophie’s dead? The head-in-hands sensation of disappointment, like hitting an air pocket on a flight. Not as petrifying as the panic but still, always horrible, planning what your sister will enjoy and then kaboom: but Sophie’s dead.
Think of the times we’re having, she said near the end. Which we wouldn’t be having if I’d been hit by a car.
The times! Three months, that’s all it was. And the afternoon of Sophie’s death, your anger at that nurse. Not one of the angel nurses who floated in and out of Sophie’s room in the palliative ward. That red-haired nurse in the cafeteria. You landed beside her at the coffee machine and you told her. It burst out. You’d called Joe and he was on his way, and you’d called the kids in their other cities, but the calls were too small for that event, you had to blab to a stranger.
The nurse sat down across from you as if your blurt had been an invitation. She told you that your sister was beyond the first orbit and that would help. She leaned toward you and spoke slowly, explained that a spouse and children, and parents perhaps, were in a person’s primary orbit and a sibling existed in the next orbit out. Relationships as a kind of solar system, she said.
It was absolutely the most insensitive thing. Sophie never married, your parents are deceased. Who in the world did she have but you? Orbits! What do you know about my orbits? you snapped. The very word was embarrassing, like dirty underwear.
But maybe you only snapped in your mind because the nurse didn’t react, she kept pressing forward, keen to help.
The first thing you gave Joe when he arrived was what the nurse had said, that solar system stuff. He told you not to dwell on it. Dwell? Don’t dwell? you shrieked. When it’s my fucking family that’s shrunk to nothing? You were practically spitting at him and then you were sorry because he seemed unhappy you’d sworn and you knew that Sophie’s death had been profound and now you were spoiling it. You’d clasped the sticking-through bones and papery skin of her hand, you’d sung to her. Children’s songs, lullabies. Sleep my child and peace attend thee. Baby beluga in the deep blue sea. You wanted to sink your head into her chest but you felt she would vanish if you did, collapse like dust. So you held and stroked her hand. But even Sophie’s hand had seemed indifferent by then, like that butterfly you and Joe watched at the butterfly house as it struggled out of its chrysalis, stretched its fragile wings to dry, then remained for a long time utterly inert, otherworldly, simply itself and oblivious to you in awe behind the glass. And your sister’s languorous air in and out was a song for herself and no one else, a wispy thrum like a faraway drum that got slower and slower until it stopped.
Joe had pulled you against him, said he understood. The redhaired nurse had said she understood. And there you were, in your husband’s embrace, when your heart wrenched, your path to oxygen closed off. Being smothered or having a heart attack or something.
While Sophie was dying you ached to go along but now that was a lie. You didn’t want to die, not at all. Someone poked, pressed, declared your vitals fine, ordered you to breathe. Someone else was talking about bereavement and how it sometimes behaves. Someone else said they understood.
This was your first episode of panic and ever since then you’ve struggled to distinguish between grief and alarm.
Across the way, Harry and Mary have everything arranged. They mount their stairs and shut the door. Their trailer lights come on, creamy squares of geniality in the growing dark. One of them mutes the squares by pulling blinds over them. They’ve piled wood, set the axe in readiness, exited the scene.
Something odd about them, though, aren’t you feeling it? you ask.
Hey, Joe says. With the hardness of a leave-it-be.
Why camp, you think sourly, if not for fire? Joe has pumped yours up again and it flickers, it’s excellent and beguiling. He knows what kinds of wood to mix for the quick flame, for the low lengthy burn, for fragrance and crackle. Gradually the wood will disappear and at some point he’ll stop adding fuel until only coals remain, a bubble sheet of crimson under a layer of ash. There’s something ancient and seductive in this dance of heat and colour and light. It makes you dreamy. You feel secure. Significant.
But how thoroughly you hated that red-haired nurse who managed to say so much in one pushy encounter! It’s hard to believe in life after loss, she said, her voice pious, intimate. Confident though, as if she’d just come from a seminar on the topic of mourning and knew everything about it. In this corner, gratitude, she’d said, and in this corner, regret. Hoisting and thrusting her hands toward you as if to box. Hands with their short white fingernails fisted together. The point at which they meet, she said, clasping them, is the location of your greatest sadness.
You remember the buzz of fluorescent lights, their alien animosity, how you left your tray on the table and bolted away. Because as far as sisters went, it’s true: gratitude and regret.
No. You left because Joe was on his way. You wanted to be in Sophie’s room when he came in. You thought you were in charge of her dead body.
No. You hurtled yourself in his direction because you needed him.
Needy, needy Elly, Sophie scoffed in some teen argument about dating. Do you really think a man will solve what’s wrong with you?
On Saturday morning you wake to the sound of a boat motor revving open and purring away from the dock and you startle and fling your arm over to reach for Joe. It hits the low ceiling of your sleeping compartment and lands on the mattress. He’s gone fishing. Of course.
It’s entirely too still.
Steps then. Someone by the trailer and a sound like gunshot. The cavity of your heart explodes, the same old race is on again. The feel of falling. Breathe, you tell yourself. Just breathe. So you breathe and come right and after some of this there’s quiet in your chest and outside too. You creep to the tiny window at the foot of the bed. The glass is hazy with dew and you wipe a spot and see the neighbours’ petunias bobbing in some breeze as if amused and to the right, Joe at his morning fire. You crawl down from the bed and stick your head out the door. Joe, you half whisper, do you realize wood crackling this early is like a gun going off?
Joe in the morning is a cheerful man. Hello there! he says, full voice. I threw in pine. And by the way, it’s not that early.
Aren’t you fishing?
I told you yesterday, not this weekend. But I’ll go out later for a ride.
Moisture crinkles the grass like lace and nothing stirs at the Harry and Mary house and there’s no activity at the tents yet either. You’re the only person up, you say.
You go back to bed and put in your ear buds and start the music track Sophie loaded for you and left behind. Everything from country western to Beethoven’s Pathetique. Tell me, what is it? Joe begged you once. He meant the fear. What it signified. And you said, Nothing and everything, but you couldn’t—wouldn‘t—explain beyond that. Remembering and forgetting, both dreadful in their way. Losing precision about your sister’s face or your hours at her side. Already checking photographs, consulting your calendar, for specifics. It seems a failure, too calculating, to have to research them like that. And fear of catastrophe, of the next unscheduled, awful thing. Fear that random thoughts are never random. Fear of letting your sorrow go, even though you’re sick and tired of the panic, the repercussions. Fear that Sophie never found you independent enough.
Fears about Joe. The epitaph a good man attached to him over the years. Yes, he’s kind, he’s good. But undisclosing, stubborn too. And
why are good people the hardest to know? Your sister had a mean streak that was visible.
Maybe you’re not trying hard enough. What, for example, do you know of his fishing? You never ask a thing. You let the specifics of what he snags—lake sturgeon, walleye, pickerel, bass, perch, whatever it is—and his equipment and fishing strategies skim free of you. Does it bother him to carry those particulars around in a solitary sack he may spill open to his pals who fish but not to you? You’ve considered your lack of curiosity a virtue, like a dispensation of space healthy couples offer one another, but you aren’t sure any more, you could be wrong about that. Wrong about everything.
After breakfast, you accompany Joe to the boat rentals dock. You ask him to tell you about his fishing. He looks at you and you hold his gaze, waiting for astonishment. Or thanks. His eyes are pale, his hair woven with grey. The stubble of his beard can’t hide the runnels from his nose to his mouth. He gives you a quizzical smile, as if he hasn’t realized until now that he’s a fisher. Nothing much to say about fishing, he offers. But yeah, it’s sure something I like to do.
Do you want to join him for the ride, is that what you mean? No, no, you say. You know he prefers to be alone on the water, you’ll go for a walk. He pushes off and you trek the highway to the resort half a kilometre away, you buy an ice cream bar. It dissolves down your throat like comfort, like summer green, and then you’re striding the hard narrow path along the shore, elated with its curves and the sunshine, the energy in your legs. Today the lake is white and smooth and radiant.
But you can’t see the boat with Joe in it. Was Sophie secretly in love with him? Or he with her?
Impossible. You remember the day he scanned the cover description of your library book and said, I know people in novels have trouble with this, but I plan to be faithful. Some of us may actually be stranger than fiction.
I should hope so, you replied. You were brusque. And then he said he’d promised God about this, the faithfulness he meant, and you supposed he wanted to set it in cement, but Joe never talks that way, not about God. It made the moment awkward, like contrition. Impossible. But why do certain questions come to you?
Elly, Sophie said, you’re not weak. Had finally said, days before dying, when reduced to pure affection, to grace.
But you are. You’re useless in the aftermath of grievous circumstance, you’re like a broken piece of crockery that winter frost and melt stir up. Still afraid your heart could clatter enough to end you. Anxiety crouched on the rim of your brain. And love—it’s nothing like you expected it to be when you were young. It’s fluid, not solid, and it has to be trusted. But surely only infants in their brief innocence know trust without some wariness in it. You and Sophie a story with a squabble in every chapter. Your reliance on Joe.
And what if you get to be too much for him? What if your inconsistent, fluctuating self pours over in him like the rain barrel after weeks of drizzle?
He’s your constant, Sophie said. Your stalwart.
You reach the campground road, you’re nearly to the trailer, when you hear the gravel scrape behind you. Your right hand hits your lips, you whirl around. The Harry. He’s stealing a look at your breasts. Your other arm flies up too. You say, You frightened me. You hear your breathless voice, you think you hear your heart. You remind yourself to breathe
I should have rung my bell, he says and chuckles at his joke. As if you’re a pair of youth on bicycles. Well, ha ha ha. But it eases you a bit. You smile, say you should have checked your rearview mirror. Which makes him laugh. His belly quivers behind his navy polo shirt. Harry, he says, extending his hand.
Oh, you say carelessly, pretending not to see it, I’m Elly. You think his hand will be a hard clutch.
His arm retreats. Elly, he says like a salesman, in that way they caress your name. He’s big. You noted this yesterday and now you see it close. Too close. You step back and he steps forward.
You step back again and inquire if he’s in real estate and you can tell you’ve flattered him. Windows and doors, he says. But not on the floor any more. Sales management.
Well of course, that’s no cheap motorhome.
So, you say, as if you’ve been chatting for hours, I have to go. It occurs to you that Mary may be frowning out an RV window. But Harry ignores this and takes another step toward you while you shuffle back, and he’s asking you questions, braiding in your name, and the scent of him wafts toward you whenever he moves. The scent of expensive. You have to tell him where you and Joe are from, what you do for a living, what your kids are up to. You mention Sophie too, about the illness, the rapid course of it, her death. He’s attentive
to everything. But really, you have to go, chatter could be dangerous. You turn abruptly and you march away. Never mind him judging the sway of your rear end, which has widened over the years. You’re like a stuck record, telling yourself to breathe. You close and lock the trailer door but nothing transpires and then it seems ludicrous, your hiding, so you open the door. Harry is nowhere in sight, the RV must have swallowed him. The water glistens behind the trees. You carry the lounge chair close to the lake, not far from the tents. One of the tenters is strumming a guitar. You’re beside the water now and the trees are probably leafing out this very moment and you’re under the sun where you ought to be on a splendidly warm early-season Saturday.
Joe returns and joins you. You tell him you walked and read and finished a crossword puzzle in your book. You had to consult the solution at the back for one tricky corner. You say you met your neighbour. Your neighbour Harry, you say. You don’t mention his step ahead for your every step back, the sly inquisition of his eyes, as if— articulating it now to yourself—he wished to snatch you up against his burly body and do something with you, his smile enormous, his teeth too white. It’s nice out, you say, and I’m glad you’re back from your ride.
You cook meal-in-one foil packets of sausage, potatoes, onions, and corn over the fire. You have rhubarb pie along for dessert. You eat and wash the dishes and settle by flame and heat for the rest of the evening. Harry and Mary make a fire too and once it seems Harry is coming over to invite you for drinks but he turns and walks the trail around the campground. Then he douses their fire with a pailful of water and they go inside. They must prefer the flicker of TV.
At night, you’re jolted out of sleep. A crash. Another. Someone shaking the trailer. You feel yourself scream. Harry! you scream. Harry! Joe’s arm wraps you like a vise and he’s as bossy as a first responder. Elly! Elly, stop! he barks. It’s the wind!
Just the wind lifting the awning, flinging it down again. A storm, he says, but the trailer isn’t going anywhere.
Stop shaking, he says. The wind is bad enough.
You finally relaxe and he lessens his hold, but it’s hard to get to sleep again. You’re both lying awake and your arms touch and you listen to the storm yank and bang the canvas outside the door. You listen to the thunder. Lightning lights and lights the trailer, like it wants to peer in at you and see what you’ve got.
You tell him you’re sorry you screamed. We’re fine, he says, it’s nearly done, but his voice sounds small, like a boy’s, as if he was surprised and frightened too, and now you’re lying close in your high cradle of a camper bed and it’s just a storm and the storm is moving away. The world may be vast but you’re cozy and you like the humility of this. Like a child stretched out in a field, gazing up at the clouds and pondering. It’s amazing when you stop and think of it, you say. Sleeping together. Two adults in the same bed. And I don’t mean sex. Year after year, drifting into the unconsciousness of night together. So many nights. Sleeping beside each other.
It’s never bothered me, he says.
You laugh. Nothing bothers him. But you were speaking of amazement.
He kisses you and it’s an amorous kiss and you yield because you’re glad for his presence, his protection, and you’d like to reward his constancy and you desire him too and at this precise moment, some time in the vicinity of midnight, everything seems like happiness.
Sunday you open your eyes to sunshine through the trailer windows and birdsong going crazy. You’ve never learned one bird call from another any more than the details of fishing, but Joe can distinguish them all. Chickadees, robins, jays, and on and on. You peek out. Oh my goodness, the petunias are gone, the pedestals are gone, Harry and Mary and their motorhome are gone. Joe putters at his fire. You pop outside in your pajamas, nod at the barren site across from yours and ask him the obvious, whether Harry and Mary have left.
I was up at six, he says, and they were pulling out.
You finger your hair and you’re about to ask if he wrote down their licence plate, but then you clamp your lips. You thought it was Harry, coming for you, but it wasn’t. It was the wind and you knew better, as soon as Joe said it in the night. Sometimes you’re just ridiculous. Though a slap in the face nevertheless, Harry and Mary sneaking off like that, after you told him all about yourself but know nothing of them, and you and Joe alone again in the middle of the campground. But really, good riddance. The nearly empty campground seems benign, seems ordinary, uneventful, the daylight bright and strong. From the tents near the shore, the twang of a guitar. The musician is awake. You’ve achieved something, haven’t you, in this weekend at the lake? And the last day of it still sprawled out beneath the sun.
You’ll stay until mid-afternoon, you have hours ahead of you to read, do another crossword, walk, talk, gaze at the water. And your Joe is making you breakfast.