David took his walk early that day. They had arrived around nine am and he was out by eleven with a pre-rolled lavender spliff he stole from the coffee table.. It was only about an hour drive to the park and they had all driven together. His head was pounding by the time he got there.
“Ok, but I want to listen to something with like flavor, like something to kind of move to,” Marisol began to roll her shoulders, nudging Jack. “Come on, Davey, put on the playlist I made. I made it just for you.’
“Ok, well that’s not 7:15 and we all have coffee.”
He glanced at the clock again.
“Oh my God,” she playfully hit the back of his seat, knocking Lilian’s seat too.
She widened her eyes and glanced sideways at him. She had been staunchly opposed to the entire trip and he could see it in her profile, the tiny twitch of her jaw, when Marisol’s elbow hit her seat.
“Ok,” he said. “Ok.” He removed his phone from the usb and waited.
“Ohhhh shiiiitt!” Marisol began swaying in the back seat, tossing her phone, chord attached, into the middle of console. “Guess the artist, Jack!” She hit him in his side.
Jack was affable, good-natured, pleasant to be around. He chuckled.
“Princess Nokia?” he guessed.
“Oh, shit. You remembered? But no, no baby, not this one. Actually, really wrong. Not even close to accent. Not all rappers…”
“It’s Megan Thee Stallion,” Lilian interrupted and then looked at her phone.
“Ok, bitch,” Marisol snapped her fingers.
“She Shazammed it.”
“I did not,” she waved her phone at him first and then to Marisol. “I’m playing the card game.”
“Let me see your Shazam.”
Lilian tossed her phone back to Marisol, willingly.
“I don’t see it.’
“I don’t have it.”
“Well, bruja, we need to talk about your love for female rappers. You always struck me as a Bon Iver, kind of Keane or what’s the one?’’ she asked Jack.
“Nooo…the like magician looking one?”
“The White Stripes?”
“I go out sometimes,” Lilian interrupted.
She smirked in the sideview, catching Marisol’s eyes.
“I think you’re talking about My Chemical Romance.”
Marisol snapped her fingers, “YES.”
“I’m offended,” Lilian nodded.
“They’re also really old,’ David added.
“Not as old as The White Stripes,” Lilian said.
“I’m old,”Jack laughed.
“White people music is all the same to me,” Marisol sat back in the seat, bobbing her head and taking Jack’s hand.
The car quieted.They listened to rap the rest of the way. Occasionally, Marisol and Lilian would murmur the lyrics under their breath but the rest of the ride was quiet.
David still had a headache: too much coffee, not enough water. lots of bobbing and bumps and Marisol’s screech and demands to turn the music up at the bridge. He grabbed the spliff off the table and left yelling a quick “I’m going for a quick walk!” before letting the front door slam again. He hadn’t unpacked or offered to help with breakfast. Vanishing into the woods, he followed the trail nearest to the cabin. Never having been here before, he knew the rain wouldn’t come til later. He knew that none of the other cabins were rented, and there were only three, because Lilian made it clear to the group over the group chat that they would be alone.
“Just nerves,” she told him.
“There will be six of us. We aren’t alone.”
“Rich said there are privately owned cabins scattered about but this was the only cluster to rent on this side of the lake. The more popular camping area was the south side we passed on the way in.”
“Well, that’s why we are doing it. Privacy.”
“But for what?”
She was folding her underwear neatly in half and lining her blue canvas roller bag. It turns into a backbag and is perfect for hiking, though, he already told her they wouldn’t be doing any serious hiking.
“Light. You don’t need that. I am only bringing my duffel.”
“Have you packed?”
They had their suitcases side by side on the bed and she could see it was empty.
“I am,” he left the room and returned with a small ziploc bag and set it down in front of her.
“What’s that?” she began to place her socks, neatly rolled, all bleach white next to her underwear.
“You don’t have to but we are.”
She was in an oversized tee, Pine Grove Track, gray with green lettering and black leggings, her hair up and her face plain as day. He didn’t despise her. He also didn’t love her. He also resented her the night before they left for the trip and remembered on the walk in the woods going east he reckoned, remembered advice.
“Only take acid when you’re in the best frame,” Clark said drawing doodles on his hand with marker. “Otherwise, it can get tense. It’s 12 hours long. You gotta ride that shit out. Worse if you’re tense or nervous or sad. My girlfriend confessed to having an affair once while we were on shrooms.”
“Not a great way to go out.”
“Most definitely not.”
David lit the spliff after he was about fifty or so feet away, not wanting to invite Marisol or Jack on this private walk. She rolled plenty of joints. She wouldn’t notice but he needed the time. The clarity. And away from Lilian who was growing more insufferable daily. She was stalwart, modest, humble, lacking any avariciousness and infrequently kinky. She would have these great flairs of role play and domination and then fall completely flat, unaffected, like a cold. long chamber you had to sit in, sit through, until she turned back on the power. She came home once with a rabbit mask and matching shiny black bikini but she only wore it once and David had to sit through a long lashing just to touch her shin.
“But it’s not enough,” he said out loud.
He had already smoked a quarter of the joint and wandered aimlessly. Pausing to turn around to gain footing, he saw the cabin in the distance; the two empty cabins behind it, spread out so there was a decent few yards between each. From here, he couldn’t see the picnic table between them, a common meeting eating area, but he knew it was there. There was also a private one closer to the cabin and a water spout. Suddenly recalling these things helped him ground. Turning to keep walking east which was now moving slightly south, he missed the boulder with the large red spray painted dot on it.