No Pressure

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More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Based on a true story about a bright girl living her best life. Young, in love, traveling the world. What could be better?

Submitted: February 21, 2020

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Submitted: February 21, 2020

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For Savannah

4/5/00 - 11/20/19

 

The first thing I noticed was the flow of cold air into my nostrils. I liked sleeping with my window cracked, the sounds and smells reminded me of evenings spent camping under the stars, but with the changing of the season plunging temps into the mid-20s overnight it was becoming too cold to keep up the habit. I breathed the frigid air in deeply. Before long we'd be trading in the pine trees and desert sun of Zion National Park for the turquoise waters and sandy beaches of Hawaii. Best to enjoy the little things while they lasted.

Zach stirred next to me and I cuddled into his tall frame. He always seemed to run a degree or two warmer, though it wasn't just his built-in furnace that kept the cold at bay these days. With my eyes closed, I listened to his slow breathing and felt the familiar warm glow spread, starting in the center of my chest and blooming throughout my body. This was without a doubt the happiest and most content I had ever been. Eyes still closed, I let my mind take me away. Despite feeling so happy I couldn’t shake the sense of dread I’d had since seeing that poor mouse die at my feet in the desert. What did it mean? I often felt as though I'd seen many lifetimes, yet I still couldn’t find answers to the hard questions.

My eyes flicked open and landed on my pack, abandoned in the corner and still stuffed to the gills with gear from our camping trip in the desert a week ago. I generally enjoyed the ritual of packing and unpacking for a trip. The gentle care I took of the gear I had worked so hard to acquire, the good and bad smells of pine and sweat clinging to my clothes, reminding me of all the times nature had rewarded me for my efforts. But as I soaked up the quiet of the morning I decided my pack could wait. My focus shifted as a mote of dust floated in front of my face, illuminated by the sunbeam coming through my window. When it vanished my eyes refocused and landed on the top drawer of my dresser. Beary. I didn’t care what anyone said, 19 was NOT too old to bring your best bear with you everywhere you went. Beary had seen some shit. I had been talking about hiking the PCT for so long, he’d never forgive me if I didn’t bring him. 

I was making a mental note to give beary some love when suddenly the urge to stretch overcame me. I let out my usual high-pitched squeal as I elongated my limbs, delighting in the aches I had earned the week before in Capitol Reef. When I closed my eyes, I could still see the dazzling sun and moon rises, sunsets and light shows dancing over the land and I was already plotting our next visit. Zach had finally shrugged off his slumber when my squeal alerted him, and he began tickling me as revenge. "White fucking flag!" I shouted breathlessly as he finally relented some minutes later. Despite the onslaught being over I was still giggling as I retreated to the bathroom and relieved my bladder. "You're lucky I didn't piss on you" I called to him in jest. He walked over to the doorway and smiled at me, I loved the way it touched his eyes. God he was handsome. "Want to go for a run with me?" he asked, casually leaning against the frame. "I need a shower, I stink so bad" I replied. It was true, and I was so glad he loved me anyway. He bent down and kissed me on the forehead. He had this magical way of making me feel like I was his whole world. So happy. I turned on the shower to let it heat up and glanced in the mirror as I waited. My hair was a disaster, as usual, but I remembered that year in high school when I chopped it off completely and I immediately felt grateful for my messy hair. I learned a lot about myself that year.

I started my Spotify playlist, adjusted the temperature of the water, and hopped into the shower as Zach left for his run. The hot water cascading down my body left faint pink rivers in its wake. I liked it hot. For some reason hotter translated to cleaner. I luxuriated under the stream, allowing my senses to take over until guilt motivated me into being productive. Don't be wasteful! I let my mind wander as I began scrubbing the past few days from my skin. I thought of mom and how happy I was that she and JR found each other. I worried about Audra, trying to finish college and get out into the world. I liked being out in the world, but Audra had a tender heart that could easily be taken advantage of. I guess we all had to learn somehow.

My elbow bumped the shower caddy and I was brought out of my reverie as Zach’s razor fell to the tub floor. I managed a bit of fancy footwork to avoid getting filletted by the sharp blades. Men's razors are so much better I thought to myself as I picked it up and inspected the five gleaming edges. My other hand automatically brushed the several-days-old stubble on my left shin and I decided it was time for some pampering. 30 minutes later I emerged from the shower smooth and pink as a babe and just as squeaky clean. I could hear voices as I wrapped a towel around me, but I took my time as I lavished in the rare feeling of being so so clean. 

Once I was dressed I opened the door to find Zach had returned with one of our coworkers. “Angel’s Landing just re-opened, want to join us?” I thought to myself Hiking?? I JUST got so clean though! My face must have given me away because Zach chimed in, saying those two words  “no pressure” followed by a short pause as he took my hand in his and brushed his lips over my tattooed knuckles "but it will be way cooler if you join us." My decision was made. “If you’re going, I’m going” I replied with a grin. 

 

Epilogue

 

Savannah indeed went hiking that fateful day, but despite the breathtaking views and stolen private moments with her boyfriend she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that had taken up residency in the depths of her bowels since agreeing to the hike. Twice more she mentioned not feeling up for tackling the monstrosity that was Angel’s Landing. Despite an elevation of nearly 1500 feet it was generally an easy trail for her expert skill level, but that day was different. When they reached the top they sat together, soaking in the scenery and quietly journaling about the day. When it was time to leave she warned that the setting sun and light rain showers could make the journey back down treacherous. She preferred to be by herself for the descent, alone in nature with nothing but her thoughts, and it was for this reason nobody saw her slip on the rocks. 


© Copyright 2020 J.L. Smith. All rights reserved.

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