The old rusty padlock on the ancient fence gate was difficult to open, but it was no match after a couple of solid hits with a large rock. Alison pushed the gate open, shaking her head with wonder that old man Olson hadn’t replaced lock since the last time she “trespassed,” if you could even call it that.
She traversed the property until she stood in the middle of the wide meadow before stopping to look up at the sky. Rain clouds lingered, but the worst of the little front had passed by. The late afternoon sun burned through, hitting the retreating rain shower with a faint sweep of rainbow.
By her calculations, Alison thought Olson’s meadow the perfect spot to view the meteor shower she read about. Next to the Rio Olympics and the daily three-ring clown circus they insisted was actually the 2016 campaign for President, the meteor shower was all any news outlet could talk about the past week.
“Oh, that’s such a hike to get out there,” her friend Meredith complained when Alison called to see if she wanted to join her. “We’re thinking of driving up to Snoqualmie. After the rain clears out it supposed to be crystal clear. The view from up there will be spectacular, especially without city lights! You should come with us instead.”
Alison couldn’t figure how her friends thought an hour’s drive to the mountain pass was less of a “hike” than a pleasant walk through rural countryside. She called her sister and brother-in-law, who she forgot flew to San Francisco that day to visit their eldest, so she called her friend John.
“Can we dance naked around a roaring bonfire and tell ghost stories, too?” John asked.
“Be serious,” Alison scolded.
“Al, c’mon. It’s like all granola-hippie-hocus-pocus-shit. I mean, I don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, like, that blood moon last year, now that was fucking amazing, which, by the way, you could see right here without having to take some long hike into the boonies. I’m with Meredith on this one. Long, long hike out there, to Olson’s? And back! At night! Are you fucking kidding? I’d get lost and it’d be all Blair Witch! And what if the rain doesn’t let up? Long, wet hike out to Olson’s? With mosquitos biting you the whole way? I’d swell up like the Hindenburg. Uh-uh no thanks girlfriend.”
So, there she was, enjoying the sunset all by herself, and waiting for nightfall. Somewhere in the distance a horse whinnied. She could hear Olson’s goats bleating in their corral. The wind rustled the leaves in the trees, which showed off the very first swatches of reds, oranges and yellows of pending autumn. Alison realized she should have brought a book.
John was right. Sitting there waiting to watch the heavenly night sky was a bit hippy-dippy. And Meredith was right. A long drive home, safe and warm in a car, was a far better prospect than a long hike back, at night, in the middle of nowhere, by yourself.
“Hey there!” The voice came from behind Alison and gave her a start. She whipped around to see who was coming at her, and her heart skipped a beat. Chris!
“What are you doing out here? How…did you…” she trailed off. She had a broad smile across her face she had no wish to hide.
Chris walked up beside her and with an equally broad smile said, “I tried calling a couple of times, but it went right to voicemail. When you didn’t reply to my text, I thought, ‘Now if Alison is out of cell range, where would she be? Probably off to find a good spot to watch the meteor shower, I bet.’ I took a chance you’d come here.”
“It didn’t occur to you I might be ignoring your calls?”
“It did,” Chris said with a short laugh. “But, I can also be a little dense sometimes. Decided you weren’t actually avoiding me.”
“No, I’m not,” Alison conceded. “I’m glad you found me! Nobody wanted to join me.”
“You could have called me,” Chris said in an unmistakable apologetic tone.
“I thought we were cooling things off. Free to see other people, and all that.”
“Yeah, well,” Chris said, but he didn’t finish his thought. He bent down to pluck a wild flower and placed it behind Alison’s ear. He hesitated to see if she would pull away. She smiled and shyly touched his hand and then gave him a kiss.
“I missed you, too.”
I went WAY over the 40wpc, like, by 100 words, but once I got on a roll (no pun intended) I didn’t want to stop! I chose “creative nonfiction,” not because this is a nonfiction creatively told so much as it is partly based on some truth and inspired by some other truths. Basically, it’s fiction. So, I should have selected fiction. Anyway….