The woods sort of got to me after almost and entire day of walking through the woods, chasing the amulets, trying to get to that final destination point. I was enjoying it well enough, but the solitude was sort of depressing, I just wanted someone to talk to, to bounce my uncertanties to. Actually, I sort of wished that Chuck was here, he’d be the perfect person to walk through the woods with and go to some strange place where everybody had likemindedness.
Chuck wasn’t a well liked guy, or even noticed by much. Life seemed to just pass by him without him really knowing. I only knew him from the little store that he seemed to spend his life in, although he didn’t own it. It was a dinky little store in one of the run down areas of town that had been there since the fifties – and the products in there looked like they had been there since the fifties too. There was never two people in there at the same time, and gee whiz, you could go into that store and be surprised to see an unopened box of new merchandise once or twice a year.
The owner of the place was some sort of hermit, I learned this after curiosity got the best of me so I asked Chuck, who seemed a little bewildered, almost as if he had forgotten that the shop had an owner. He told me all about the way that the owner would not contact him for almost two months, and then a random phone call would come (on the phone that I had never personally see ring) and it would be the owner of the shop, explaining where he had been, but never giving a reason why. I imagined was disabled or deformed or something. From the products they carried in that store, it wasn’t surprising that the owner would be a little off. He did hire Chuck, so that tells you a little about his judgement of character.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Chuck, but he wasn’t exactly the kind of guy I would go out and hang with on a Friday night. Chuck had some deep seated childhood issues and he seemed to hate or fear the world most days. I don’t think a single person other than myself that went in that store ever gave him the time of day, which I think bothered him too. Whenever I would walk through those doors he would perk up and look like it was the happiest day of his life. Maybe it was the fact that he had someone to talk to, maybe he had an adult crush, or maybe he just was friendly. Stuff like this could drive a person crazy if they thought about it long enough. I leave it at this, I worried about him and most of the time I’d go into the store just to see if he was in there, and he always was, propped on the counter.
Chuck worried me at times when I would go to leave, almost to the point I was afraid to leave. His shoulders would slump forward and his head would tilt down. He was depressed, I knew that much. He lived by himself in a basement apartment with a cat. I believe if he did kill himself (like he had talked about on occasion), nobody would know. I don’t even think his family cared about him.
I would go, though, I would go if there was a service, and if there wasn’t I’d throw something together. I think it would be more for myself though, knowing that I could have done more to cheer him up when he was so down. I could have given him my number or something. I can picture him in a casket, wearing that ridiculous cartoon cat shirt that seemed to be in his weekly rotation of shirts. It was a dumb shirt, I thought, but I never told him that. I’d play a little game with myself and try to guess what shirt he would be wearing. He was that predictable, which wasn’t a bad thing. Predictability makes for an excellent trait in what I would call a friend. I can remember the first time I met him, and the next time, it was the same. Consistency, he was great for that.
I decided to park my pack in a wooded area that could have been a great place to build a cabin, that is, if you want to really get away from the city and not be able to get to it any other way than by foot. I would build a home here, but then again, this could be any woods in any state, with any sort of layout. In other words, this wasn’t that significant to me, the place I selected wasn’t really thought out, it was just where I landed, which seemed common in my life. The common thread of my life was that I just sort of landed places with out rhyme or reason, my profession, by apartment, my life. It all just sort of landed and I remained complacent, although it wasn’t where I wanted to be.
To expound on that, growing up as a little girl I wasn’t raised in one of those white bread and peanut butter sandwich for lunch kind of households. I got the free lunch offered by the school, my mom never prepared a sack lunch for me even once. Much like my adult hood, my childhood was run by what the lunch time calendar said. I would look every morning in excitement to see what was in store for the day. As an adult I’d sort of do the same thing. Same coffee cup, same dry toast and banana, same commute through the tangles of suburbia. Childhood was the same piece of dry toast that I’d make myself, hand-me-down clothes from an older cousin, and shoes that were always about three years out of style. The most exciting part of the day was always lunch – I wouldn’t look ahead on the calendar, I’d always wait till the day of to surprise me.
Except for that one dreaded day that always seemed to pop up once a month or so – taco day. I hated those things with a passion, and now as an adult, I could almost understand the logic of things. The chili from five days prior became the topping on the tacos. Then, whatever was left of the chili (which was never really good anyway) would go on top of hot dogs. After that the cycle would start over. I could choke down the hot dogs, and even just the chili, but something about it going over a bed of over seasoned, low quality meat bothered me. In adult hood, it wasn’t that different, we had deadlines at the beginning of every quarter, and in a very strategic manner, you’d do one thing, to create another then, and then the final product. Chili – taco – hot dog. Chili – taco – hot dog.
I sat there, thinking about chili – hot dog – taco. Then Taco – chili – hot dog. My mind was stuck on it. In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that was life is all about. Start something, do something in the middle, then finish it. Get married – do married life stuff, get divorced. Graduate, go to college, get a job. It seemed like everything was falling into a habit of going in threes. Pick a place to camp – enjoy camp – leave camp. This was going to be life for at least the next couple of days, if I follow the course properly.
Pitch tent, sleep, pack up tent.
Go into tent, sleep, wake up.
Hike, hike, sleep.
It was boggling my mind, I was too deep into thinking about these odd three step notions,and I didn’t pay any attention to where I was and what I was doing. As I was pitching the tent, I was going through my every action in three steps, which actually helped me stay on focus. I needed to sleep, I needed to sleep badly.
I wonder what Chuck is doing.
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