Joined: Mar 22, 2009
Wrote this on a whim and went ahead with posting it. Figured I need to add more to this section than criticism.
A fair city known as Colorado Springs spreads thin across a valley surrounding the east half of Pike's Peak. The Peak- once called El Capitán, began it's aimless spread towards the sky some eons ago. It's land was sparse. Constellations above El Capitán danced and poured arrows of the night in between each other. The land showed simple beauty in it's dress of emeralds and wisps of roaring, wet stone.
Along those singing rivers I spent my eighteenth birthday. With me, sat several friends. Nathan was the closest to me. Opposite to him sat Erik, and past all of us was Anthony and Taylor. The two of them were farther down the riverside, sitting on a large rock which all but begged exclusion from the rest of us. There was no fight or anything of the sort, they were just two lovers that cried for time alone. However silent the cry was.
The sun bathed us in light. Wind gave little help. It was the water's fresh splashes and tight currents that kept us in a reasonable mind. Erik, Nathan and I ate lunch with our feet in the sandbank. My sandwich was dry but bearable, and the two of them complained of their food the entire time. Nathan- as we called him Nate, was a contemptible man when the moment deemed it necessary. He enjoyed constant episodes of bragging, followed by explaining the errors of every other thing around him. Then more bragging.
Nate was neither built to brag, nor deserved to. Hardly anyone who brags is. He was cursed with his father's height (rather, lack of) and his mother's waistline. Unknowingly, Nathan would snort while he laughed and had a penchant for wearing clothes just beyond the border of matching. These were all reasons that Nate became the butt of many jokes among our social circles.
“You need to give up on the spiked hair, Nate. You look like a crisped hedgehog on your best days”
Anthony was quick with words. He often left his speech unfiltered by the regular standards of thought, and instead chose to hope no one would think he was particularly unfunny. In this aspect, he was usually lucky.
“I'll come over there and stick your head in with the fish if you don't shut it!”
There was little time left in the day as we packed up and continued up the trail. Taylor and Anthony continued on far ahead of us, still volunteering to be alone together. For the best. Their shameless, often sensual sappiness was never put up with while Nate or Erik was around. Either one made quick work of Anthony's Andrew Marvell recitals, or worse yet, his original material.
Dancing skirts of prancing dirt jumped out of the beaten trail in no specific pattern. It pulled across our waists as we walked. We all wore fitness shoes and loose cargo pants, other than Erik. He decided to indulge in the idea of wearing Converse and jeans up a mountain. Erik had thoughts of regret within several yards of the hike.
He was my longest friend, yet even I could not deny his tendency to miss things more often than Anthony. Some would even question if they had made a pact together to surpass thought as much as possible. However, Erik almost never spoke, and never complained. When the occasion necessitated it, Erik became a rock among men. He was nice to be around most of the time, despite his tendency to miss out.
“Jesus Christ, this hike. Jake, why a mountain? Why not a movie or a damn party?” Nathan voiced his hatred for physical work often.
“Nathan, this place is killer. What are you on about?”
Erik shared my love of the country, and that shared passion was a large reason we've known our friendship for so long. Our early years were spent making sod houses in the prairies and pulling small canoes through lakes. We would take trips with our fathers to Wyoming and the Mojave. We even spent a few weeks in the Washington redwoods' embrace. It was pristine.
Our group stopped some time after the sun bowed below Pike's icy shoulders. The wind had picked up. Nathan's nagging had taken a mental toll on us as much as the winding path had done physically. We assembled the thickest logs we could find into a circle around a pit that Erik had dug in the small clearing some fifty yards from the trail.
Branches whirled on carelessly, as we set up a small tent and fire. Anthony pulled out several MREs that he had gotten from his father and tossed one to each of us, around the circle of logs. We shared our second meal of the day together and talked of the mountain. Taylor told us legends of the wild we had heard many times before. Her hips reminded me of older days as she moved around in her stories. The two of us had been together some time before.
“You're telling me there's a tribe of two-hundred year old indians that kidnap white people around here?” Erik was cynical of the idea.
“Of course I am” Taylor continued without care of Erik's preconceptions. He wouldn't have it.
“Well then, I suppose everyone but Nate is screwed, huh? Would'a thought Sonic over here would outlive us?”
“Shut it, pasty” It was a quick rebuttal that Nathan was proud and eager to offer. He was the darkest of us, being the only actual Mexican among us. Anthony was some mix between our groups' two races, but his skin tone said otherwise. Erik, Taylor and I were the foam at the head of a wave, in essence. On the best days we'd be known as something other than 'the hue of glue'.
“I ain't gettin' kidnapped by damn indians”
“believe the proper term here is native American, Tony. If you weren't such a blaring racist you'd probably know that” Tony and I had an in-joke of giving into hyperbole with each other.
“Look who decides to speak, now. Daniel's getting mouthy since it's sundown. Watch out, guys”
“Damn right. It's high time you know I mean business.” Anthony stood up from his shared spot with Taylor to stretch a fair jab at me.
We sparked a fire in the pit before us sometime after the crickets began their loud leg concerto. Wind was dull for a while, and the lot of us were quiet again. Taylor and Anthony were laying in their shared sleeping bag, looking at the same constellations El Capitán raised his uneven intention for, some eons ago. Nathan was in the tent, trying to sleep early, so as to keep everyone else awake with his congested snore. Erik was still at the fire with myself opposite to him.
“So why did you pick the peak, Dan?” Erik was half-serious and half-mocking Nate's earlier gripe.
“You should know. I don't need to tell you how much I love it out here”
“Agreed. I've heard it plenty of times before”
“Like you're any different. Hell, if you're like Nate then we've been lying to each other for too long, buddy” We both laughed at the thought of it.
Nathan was a city boy. It came as a surprise to me that he was even here with us, now. He was a true friend. Just as every other one of them was. No matter his need to argue with Tony and Erik too often. Erik bowed out of his place and hopped into the tent, nestling a wall of blanket and pride between Nate and him.
It was quiet. Crickets died down and the wind hummed, heavy. Anthony and his lover were fast asleep. I still loved Taylor, and I still thought of her plenty. But I wouldn't tell them that. Not now. Maybe one day she'd be mine again- but for now I leaned my back against the log, pushed my toes closer to the fire and hummed along with El Capitán.