A Little Bit Wet

Everything was always a little bit wet.

The summers in Pennsylvania are sometimes grossly humid. Much of the time was spent hoping for a thunderstorm to come along and break the heat for a few hours.

It was the first day of summer vacation. I’d set up the tent the night before. We didn’t have much in the way of neighbors, our property bordered a park reserve, and we didn’t have sidewalks. My yard in Southeastern, Pennsylvania was safer than my apartment here in Los Angeles.

There is nothing that I particularly enjoy about sleeping outside. Given the choice, I will choose to be inside 99% of the time. But there is one condition in which I am willing to sleep in a tent, potentially exposing myself to a number of undesirable encounters and sensations. And that condition has a dick.

I had snagged myself a boyfriend who lived only a 20 minute walk away. And it’s much easier to sneak out of your house when you are sleeping in the back yard.

So I got my sleeping bag, pillow, some fruit snacks, a Jolt Cola, my CD player and headphones, 3 issues of Ranma 1/2, and a flashlight – only necessities – and zipped myself up tight in my tent. I sat and watched the fireflies (*lightning bugs) through the mesh windows of the tent. I could feel the ground getting colder through the thin nylon under my palms as I leaned back.

As it got darker, I zipped up the windows and read a bit.

I was just waiting.

It got a bit colder, and I burrowed further into my sleeping bag. Slippers. That’s what I forgot.

I checked my (S)watch. A few minutes past 11. Not much longer.

I closed my eyes and listened. I could hear the small stream trickling through the rocks of the waterfall that was all but dried up. Breezes through the huge trees on the edge of the woods. The owl that liked to chill out near my bedroom window. What sounded like one of the cats, or maybe a raccoon.

And then I heard her. She shuffled across the grass, and as she approached the tent she said “Knock, knock!” and immediately started to unzip the door of the tent.

I looked up at her, blinking as though I had been woken from some G-rated REM cycle.

“Hi, mom.” I said, selling my bewilderment with my best teenage acting skills.

She looked at me for a second. “I just wanted to check on ya! You okay? Need anything?”

“No,” I said, rubbing the faux-sleep out of my eyes. “I’m just sleeping.”

“Okay, hon. Goodnight!” She zipped up the tent and went back into the house.

The screen door creaked shut.

I smiled a satisfied smile as I put on my headphones and hit play on Pinkerton. I don’t remember when I fell asleep.

I woke up early in the morning to a film of moisture covering everything with an extra chill. I remembered my victory from just hours before and my mind flashed with plans for the night to come. I didn’t bother putting on my shoes. Instead, I hurriedly zipped up the tent before running to the the house through the wet grass in my bare feet. I skipped a step to avoid a worm that had crawled up to patio in front of the door and almost slipped on the dew that had collected overnight on the concrete.

Everything was always a little bit wet.

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