Back in high school, a good 20 years ago, I went on a camping trip with a bunch of not-so-camperific friends. It was like The Breakfast Club takes a field trip.
There was a Hippie Princess, the Spaz, the Outdoorsman, the Basketcase (guess who?) and the Dude.
The Dude later became my husband, but the others went the way of most old school friends – out of town and out of touch.
The Outdoorsman started a fire as night came down, and we all sat around it in a circle, doing what you do over a campfire. Talking, laughing, smoking stuff and toasting marshmallows.
Shortly before this camping trip, the movie Robinhood: Prince of Thieves came out with its cool arrow shots. The perspective of these shots is important to this story, so if you don’t remember it, here you go.
The Dude and I were on one side of the fire, Spaz next to us. Opposite sat the Hippie Princess and the Outdoorsman.
The Spaz held a marshmallow too close to the flames, so naturally the sugar caught on fire and became a flaming torch.
Rather than blowing on it to kill the flames, the Spaz twigged out, shaking the stick violently. On a particularly vehement downward swing, the marshmallow launched off the stick and flew through the air.
For the Dude and I, the perspective was awesome. We could see the outcome as though in slow motion. An arrow of flaming sugar, on an unerring arc through the air, to land squarely in the center of the Outdoorsman’s forehead. It was as sure as if it had been shot by Robinhood, himself.
The sticky, molten mess stuck to his skin like napalm, burning, burning, burning, as he leaped to his feet and raced to the edge of the lake, the fire on his face lighting his way.
We sat, all of us, stunned as he plunged into the lake to put out his flaming head.
When he came back, dripping and angry, he threw a sodden mass of white goo into the fire with an angry slat of his hand. “Thanks for helping,” he spat.
It was like throwing a laugh bag down – - the rest of us erupted in wild peals of laughter. Yes, that was wrong of us. But we were young, and we laughed anyway.
This week has been a particularly hard one for me. My birthday rolled around and I didn’t get a single call or even a Facebook acknowledgement from my friends. Even my Mom forgot to call me.
I’m super stressed over a change at work, doing manic math to ensure all of our bills will still be paid with this new position.
And I had to go to Boston to take my Mom down to a neurologist that has her in a clinical trial for the rare disease she has. Those trips are awful.
Then there’s my husband, who always gets the brunt of my bad days. To him, I’ve been argumentative, surly and downright bitchy all week.
Instead of biting back, he left me a note. I woke up in the morning to find this on the kitchen counter:
“Remember how much that flaming marshmallow that got Justin was like Robinhood: Prince of Thieves?
That was awesome.
I love you.”