{ Friday, March 28, 2003 }

Happy Creek.

It's like a law. Get two camp people together and someone's bound to get naked. Put NotBoyAnymore and me alone in a room for thirty minutes, someone will get naked (this theory is well documented and has never failed us).

Yesterday the green woman and I went off to have a picnic.

I opted to drive, she grabbed her sweatshirt and we were off.

We headed down the river. We decided to drive to Dr. Sperti's old farm and then head down to the creek. On the first try, I quickly realized that impulse led me down the wrong road. I was a block too early. We turned around and tried again.

On and on and on we drove. "Sperti Lane is on the left at a bend in the road." I kept repeating it. "How long has it been since you were there?" "Um, three years? four? A long ass time"

We speculated on what the people who live there now might think about us walking through their yard to get to the old, unused logging road down to the creek. Finally, I concluded we had gone too far. I knew I had walked there before, with Drea and Danielle, and this was waaay too far to have walked in the time it took us. We turned around.

On the way back, we slowed down to pass a flagger. I asked him where Sperti Lane was. He told me to turn into the new subdivision "Up there on the right at the bend" and Sperti Lane was off of it. I was very confused as I knew that Sperti Lane was off East Bend Road. We turned in. Sure enough, there was Sperti Lane, off the new road. Except you could see the remnants of the old gravel road further up. The maps had changed since last I'd been there.

Oh my. What a large subdivision. What a *new* subdivision. She said it best when we were leaving "Where do all these people come from?". Well, parking was certainly not going to be a problem.

We drove to the end, and parked on a street under construction. We grabbed our lunches and headed down the path. You could see horse hoof prints in the dirt along side the tractor marks. The logging road apparently is no longer unused except by silly girls and horses. Argh. We wound down the hill, found the original horse trail and followed it down to the creek for our picnic.

Eventually, we ended up sitting on some rocks, eating our McDonald's (Big Mac, no meat for me, it's like the world's least good-for-you salad on a bun). I finished and just had to venture into the creek. The green woman followed me. The rocks were slippery and the water was cold. We kept very nearly falling.

"mary, I think maybe wearing clothes for this is a Bad Idea."
"You know, I was just thinking that the cigarette was a good thing, the clothes, a bad one."

We decided to go upstream some and then get naked and swim. Nevermind that we were on the cliff side of the creek. We saw a spot further ahead that looked like it would be easier to cross.

So, we walked up onto the lowest ridge, climbing the eight or ten feet up the cliff to the ledge with trash in hand. We climbed over fallen trees and along the hillside. Then our ridge gave out. She suggested we just traverse the ledge along the rocks at the bottom. So, down we went, with me in the lead.

I would call what we did some serious traversing. To me, hanging on to the tree roots and finding my footing on the rocks below (which were like eighteen inches from the probably over our heads water and set in at quite an angle), was as complicated as it's been for a long time. When we got to the spot where we thought we might ford, I took off my shoes and started out into the creek.

It quickly became obvious to her, watching me, that this was another Bad Idea. I persisted though and made it a short ways out into the creek before giving up and turning around. The current was strong and the rocks were slippery. Which is to say, I fell in the creek. Just pitched forward, upstream. My long sleeved shirt's sleeves were soaked, along with the bottom of my purse (which at this point contained two bras, one added that day. I am good at putting them on, bad at wearing them.) and my shoes (which had been in my hand). Somehow I got back to the bank without being swept to the Ohio River.

We continued upstream. This time, we were just half crawling along the rocks, the bank wasn't nearly as steep. We found an acceptable place and removed our clothes. The creek was fucking cold. Too cold for her (she made it up to her waist). Not too cold for me. I did a little swimming. Not much, but some. Treaded water for like eight seconds, swam a little tiny bit. Remembering that time I got hypothermia swimming in cold water around this time of year, I got out.

We ended up just walking across a fallen tree over the small creek between two ridges (we were probably only five or six feet over the rocks) and then up the hillside back to the far end of the ridge we started on. Three quarters of the way up, we paused to examine how far we'd come (and also, for the sake of my poor smoker's lungs). That valley is beautiful. And that hill is high and steep. We were very proud of ourselves.

Back through someone's yard and up the road to the car. We went to the store and got some Ale-8's and sat in the sun outside until it was threatening to set and make us late. Then it was back to Clifton.

On the interstate, on the way back, I asked her to tell me if it was a good idea to drop by NotBoyAnymore's house unannounced. Knowing full well that I wanted her to say yes and I was just looking for outside validation (as I seemingly always am), she expounded some reasons why that was a Good Idea.

I dropped her back off at her car and headed off to NotBoyAnymore's. For the first time ever, I managed to remember how to get to the north bound interstate without going "Wait! I want to be over there! I'll just drive through this shopping mall.".

My car seemed to already know the way, even though I haven't made that drive in more than a year, and never in that car. It was like driving to my mother's house, I didn't even have to think about where I was going. I examined the cars outside. "That must be his new Mazda. I know both trucks are his. I wonder about that Toyota. Well, his girlfriend ought to be at school."

As I was walking up to the door, I noticed candles burning in the living room. Shit. I'm on spring break. The green woman's on Spring Break. The girlfriend is prolly on Spring Break too. Do I knock? Well, I just glanced in the window, I'd better knock. I rang the bell. He answered the door, on the phone, put up one finger and then shut it. Must be talking to the girlfriend. I waited patiently. He did reappear.

I followed him around his house while he did some mopping. I babbled; he provided me his typical curt responses. He did have dinner plans. Supposed to take the girlfriend "somewhere.". He didn't seem to remember or care where. The phone rang again. He disappeared. He reappeared. He had to go.

Then there was eye contact. We had both been avoiding it. We stared at eachother and he laughed. I asked what was funny. "Just you.". Then, quickly, "um, we have to leave. The door. The door is that way.". I gave him a hug. We agreed that he needs to find time to have dinner or some such with me sometime. I added, "You know, in a nice safe public place."

I was only in his house for about fifteen minutes, tops... The part of me that has to test every boundary wonders what would've happened if I had stayed. The part of me that has the tiny bit of good sense I possess is glad we didn't have to find out.

I feel a lot better. A day outside with a good friend and a happy creek hike/climbing expedition followed by my ex-boyfriend actually saying and doing just what I needed to hear just when I needed to see and hear it has done my spirits a world of good.

And, yes, actually, I have already asked keledy to send me the old "If I ever think that might be a good idea again, send me this so I'll come back to reality" e mail. Precautionary measure.

posted by mary ann 8:36 AM