Finally I get the opportunity to really hang out with Marc - without alcohal or a bike show. I'm late, he picks me up from Lonsdale Key and we drive to Seymor Valley where he lives. While he showers, I try some potatoe-swiss-cheese pasta that Marc had made earlier - tasty food.
We talked until his family came home and by that time it was dark. Having agreed to go swimming earlier, I didn't let on my big fear of dark forests at night.
Marc packed an axe for firewood- I found the idea of going out into the woods at night with a guy I met twice and his axe so amusing I took a picture of his axe sticking out of his backpack.
It wasn't until we were deep into the forest that Marc starting telling me about the bears and cougars that live in that forest. It freaked me out but Marc calmed me down and we made it to the river.
After collecting twigs, sticks and wood, Marc built the fire. It took him a long time to breath the small flame large enough to catch onto the wood. Knowing he's asthmatic made me want to stop him, but he declares he has the lungs of a horse.
He got the fire going and stable - time to go swimming! What a better way to start off a friendship than skinny-dipping! Marc rushed for the edge of the rock anticipating me to follow but I was crawling my way there. The sky was a deep navy blue so the rock was black. When I caught up to him, Marc was testing the water and said it was pretty cold. "There's only one way to do this" he calmly said before canonballing into the river. He surfaced with "Wow! That's cold."
This is the point when I usually say no and turn around. Dripping behind me, Marc said,"Come on, you didn't come all this way to turn around!" Picture me naked with my body huddled in a gargoyle crawl on the edge of the black rock. But there's something my friend Andrea said that always hit me whenever I think about it. She was talking about Improv Theatre, but when applying to life it works out pretty well. She said, "Nothing interesting happens when you say no." With that one thought, I leaped into the calm river, my body already as stiff as a board.
It's greenish-black. I see bubbles and my hair across my face. My whole body couldn't surface faster as shivers pinched my skin all over at once. Finally, air. And I'm screaming. Now I'm laughing and screaming as I punch water. For me, I was only slowly moving towards the rock, my body was not moving as fast as I wanted it to.
I'm out of the water, I'm just laughing. Marc jumps in again but I know I'm not going to try to match him and jump too. I'm trying to climb up the rock but I keep slipping. Marc gets up and hauled me up to our jumping point.
From there we scrambled to the fire for our towels. I'm still laughing. My short breaths warm me. We vigorously dry ourselves with the smokey towels. I'm sitting next to the fire still laughing but more calm. I'm taking deeper breaths. Marc sits down - his skin is amber next to the fire - mine would be blush-red in the blue light.
More talking like before, but this time we're pretty much naked and there's a fire. It starts to get late and I don't want to miss my class in Maple Ridge on Wednesday morning, so I tell Marc it's probably time to go. We start packing when one of his water bottles (one of those cool mountain equipment co-op bottles) rolls and bounces off the rock and into the river. We're already dressed. Marc goes after it - I poorly passed him a stick and he tried to lead it his way. To my horror, Marc slips into the river with all his clothes on. I scream like a priss. Marc gets out of the water. The bottle is still in the river. "Oh well, I guess since I'm wet anyways," Marc said before jumping back in for the bottle.
Back at the fire, Mark peels down to his skin. The poor guy was freezing and had to try to dry off with already wet towels. We kept blowing the fire that we had allowed to die down as we were packing up. Marc had an extra pair of shorts in his bag but nothing else - so I lent him my girlie, powder-blue sweater with the side zipper. Now, Marc is an athlete . . . which means he has muscular shoulders and biceps - the sweater, stretched over the shoulders, ended a few inches above his belly button and treasure trail - wish I had my camera.
The not so fun part is that he was freezing. We got the fire going more and I called my mom on Marc's cell to let her know I was alright but that I'd be home late and that my circumstances were questionable.
Finally, we decide it's best to make our way back to Marc's house. I suggest running to warm ourselves up, to which Marc informs me that running attracts predators. So we walk and walk. After twenty minutes, Marc stops and stands still. Then I see him take the safe guard off the axe. I huddle close and ask him quietly what is going on. He replies that something is following us. We continue to walk, I'm holding the flashlight wide-eyed. Marc asks if, whatever happens, that I shine the flashlight on the animal. I said "K" but who knows what would really happen when the fight or flight kicks in. We walk, Marc asks me to scream, but I'm so scared that I lost my voice. He starts yelling and it tremors my nerves. All I wanted was to get out of the forest as fast as possible but I can't run, and I worry about my heart beating fast.
It felt like a half hour hike before Marc said that he thinks the animal following us is just trying to check us out - it keeps it's distance.
I see houses and suburban street lights - orange glow behind the tree.
We're walking in the middle of the street - Marc is calm - I'm just calmer and trying to cool off. Marc said I am cute when I'm really scared . . . I don't want to be that cute again!
Marc also asked me if I peaked at him when we went swimming and what did I think - I'm blushing big time and I barely respond with "Well, did you peak at me? What do you think?" He replied, "I think you're cute . . . but kind of frail . . . not a lot of muscle." - and muscle is one thing I'm working on, but after thinking about it, I think a bit of squishy is good - squishy is fun to hug and squeeze!
All in all - it was one of the coolest nights of my life.