There’s something about the sound of a tent zip ripping into the pre-dawn stillness as you push your way out, stiff and bleary, cupping a yawn and blinking away the crusty bits. Rude, raw country air rushes in for a hug and now you’re awake, drinking in the sight of lush, dewy grass descending gracefully to a lake where misty drunken ghosts roll home across glass. On surrounding hillsides patchworked by dry stone walls, bedraggled sheep start to work up today’s conversation while – no way! – over by the crooked old stone farmhouse an actual cockerel is actually cock-a-doodle-doodling just like in the movies. There are other tents, but not too close, and none of their occupants up yet, just you, king of the morning surveying all you own. You would relish it longer, all the while marvelling that only twelve hours ago you were still at work dealing with the last few aggravating emails, but your bladder strains for relief. Just a moment more, suck in a lungful of the good stuff, rich with the tang of shit, but the actual honest-to-goodness kind as opposed to the sneaky metaphorical sort you have to deal with on a daily basis.
Heaving a deep and happy sigh, you bend to close the flap, pausing only to adore your girlfriend still snugged up in her thick polyester cocoon, lips slightly parted, cheeks flushed, eyes roving behind their lids seeing who-knows-what, and inside her another life just beginning to form, but you don’t know it yet. You’ll know soon enough and one day you’ll tell your teenage child about the time you went camping in the Lake District and how you’ll always remember the date because it was nine months before they were born and after a moment he or she will recoil with disgust and you’ll hoot with laughter because embarrassing your kids is hilarious, but that’s something else you don’t know yet. All you do know right now is that you’re dying for a slash followed by a mug of strong, sweet tea and a fry-up of eggs and sausages (cannily bought from the farmer yesterday evening) well-charred over open flame in your brand new cheapo pan that will barely last the week and get tossed in the bin by the washing-up station on your way out, but you don’t know that yet either. You know nothing, you lucky sod, because if you knew half of what was coming your way you’d run for those distant peaks that are just now crowning with the first rays of sun and you’d keep going until you reached the coast where you’d change your name and take a job on the first ship that would have you. But instead, in your sweet and terrible innocence, you caress the zipper back down and think, how can such a little thing make so much bloody noise?
Giles Montgomery writes ads for a living and fiction for joy, previously seen in Spelk, fat cat magazine, Tiny Molecules, Reflex Fiction and here in Storgy. He lives near London with his family and has enjoyed many camping holidays over the years, though these days he prefers to glamp.
Image by bhossfeld
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