It had been quite a day, and they were both tired. In the moonlight, intermittent cloud cover caused darkness and yet when the full moon was unobstructed, the lake glimmered. Through the light clouds, the millions of stars radiated.
“You bushed, pumpkin?” he asked. He wondered if she’d fallen asleep, as he nearly had. Hammocks seemed to naturally produce this feeling, an ability to fall back into the arms, of what? He wasn’t certain. He removed his baseball cap, scratched his head.
“Nope. Just staring at the stars.” She yawned. “You ever see bears around the camp?” she asked.
He wondered if he should tell her the truth. Here they were in the middle of nowhere, a hundred miles or more from home. He decided to lie. “We used to,” he said, shifting his falling asleep arm from under her. “We hiked all day today in the Presidentials and we didn’t see any.” Her hair smelled like wheat.
“Yeah,” she yawned. “But our guide book said bears don’t usually go on trails that humans use. And this just looks like the kind of place you’d encounter them.”
He looked toward the cabin. What would happen if one came around the back corner? “I worry way more about looters than I do bears.”
“Really?” She looked at him intently.
“Sure. One time, when I was six or seven, we came up here, and there was an entire family in the camp. Living here like it was theirs. If I remember correctly, they were Asian.”
“You mean, like squatters?” She yawned again. He nodded. “What did your dad do?”
“He had to ask them to leave while we stayed in the car. Scared the shit out of me.”
“I can imagine.”
We lay there, silent. The breeze carried the soft scent of seaweed and smoke from fire embers.