Claire and I looked at each other. We both had tears in our eyes. It was our twentieth anniversary, and we were witnessing the beginning of the end of a young marriage. It didn’t take words between us to know what we would do.
After a good hard bike ride up East End Road out of Homer, we decided to celebrate the rare sunshine with ice cream for a late lunch. We bought a carton at Fred Meyer’s and took it outside to their …
Turnout boondock on the Kenai near Seward, and we were settled in for the night, nice forest on one side, traffic a good distance away on the other. Alone.
A truck with a camper pulling a boat, typical Alaskan rig, swung in ahead of us and stopped abruptly. The passenger door flung open, a woman jumped out and stumbled into the woods. After a few minutes a man got out the driver’s side and stood looking at the woods, hands in pockets, looked at his feet, called out loudly to the woods. He was still for tedious time, suddenly decided, and hurried into the woods.
Some loud voices, quiet, more commotion further away, then quiet again. We moved from mild interest to slight concern and finally worry. A half-hour passed. Should I do something? What? Was this just a couple’s spat or something more serious?
He’d turned off the truck, but the headlights were still on, the driver’s door open. I hoped he’d seen us, but what if he was blinded with anger, unaware that the drama was not being played to an empty house.
I decided to make sure he knew someone was listening, aware. I walked to the truck, and yelled in the direction I’d last heard them, “Hey! You guys okay? Silence.
Then I had an idea and yelled: “Your headlights are on.” After a few seconds the man walked from the woods. “Yeah, we’re okay. Thanks.” He looked a sad tired man. “I figured you were having a bad day, and didn’t need one more thing to go tits up.” He smiled at me. “Yeah, thanks man.” His smile was soft, sincere. He went back to the woods and she came out with him soon after. He got a blanket from the back and put it gently around her shoulders, and they drove away.
Sometimes you just have to do something. Small things matter.
We moped through the gray afternoon, napping to the shush of the fountain and studying maps to prepare for some sunny day. Throughout the day, a lone figure moved around the park, sometimes contemplating the fountain from a lonely perch on a park bench. As others came and went, this boy stayed. I imagined that he’d planned to study in the library and was stuck waiting for a ride home once a parent got off work. He looked to be a teenager, but he wasn’t talking on a cell phone or listening to music, he was just sitting.