It wasn’t a particularly frosty night, after all, it was the summer. Nevertheless, camping near a wooded area I’d heard would always be a bit chilly because of all the trees. Even without the fire, I think we would have managed but we all really wanted to make the night memorable for Lea who was extremely happy to be here with us. And so we did.
It started out with a simple conversation around the softly glowing fire. Talking about how quickly the summer had passed, of past memories and the future that awaited us. As engaging as the conversation was, Jensen was quiet. He sat cross-legged and still, eyes fixed on the brilliantly flickering flames as he absent-mindedly poked at the hearth with a stick. I noticed as the night rolled on, that he grew more and more distant from the rest of the group, giving his undivided attention to the sight in front of him.
The others were giving me meaningful looks, waiting for me to say something a Lea and Nancy had instructed me to before. Nervously, I glanced over at Jensen who was seated right next to me. Just as I opened my mouth to ask him an innocent question like whether or not he was looking forward to university, Jensen stood up.
“I’m going for a walk.”
We barely had a few minutes to acknowledge what he’d said as he stalked off into the woods.
“He’s going into the woods, isn’t that dangerous?”
“Never mind it being dangerous; go after him!” Lea said, no longer hiding behind her sweet little tone she’d been speaking with before as she turned on me.
“Yeah, now’s your chance to talk to him in private and sort things out Roxanne!”
“But I can’t just-”
“Roxie, just go will you? You know this is years late and wasting away more time by not having this talk with him will just increase whatever regret you already feel for the one huge misunderstanding that ruined your friendship with him.”
By the tiredness in Drew’s voice, it sounded like he’d had this conversation a million times before. Something about the way he’d said it, and the way he was looking at me just as he said it made me stand up. A small smile lit his face. I guess it was the first time someone had actually listened to those words.
Lea cheered me on with tiny ‘whoop whoop’s as I walked down the same path Jensen had taken. Soon, her voice and the voices of the others faded away and were replaced by the soft cooing of birds in the trees and the rustle of the fallen leaves on the moist forest ground. I squinted, trying to watch out for any roots that I might trip over, knowing how much of a klutz I could be at times. Keeping my eyes down on the ground, I completely failed to notice my surroundings until a voice spoke out to me.
“Where do you think you’re going?”