Somewhere in a dark chasm, Finneous Sprigg was making a mistake.
He had made many mistakes throughout the journey. This was not the first, and would not be the last.
Aaron always told him of all the adventures that Sunny and him would go on. Hike to incredible peaks where the trees grew bare, and snow would form into perfect balls, before melting through their fingers. They would sit on rocks, eating granola that they made back at home, watching the sunset. Watch skies that would look like melted gold in the midst of a blue and purple sea, sparkling and infinite. And how when all the clouds moved, for one second, you could see the entire world around you.
He was told the times they camped. Packed a car with everything that you could possibly need for weeks. How with each stroke of the paddle of their canoe, the vessel would cut through the water like butter. The breeze pulling their hair back and forth. The eagles whistling somewhere off in the distance. And the nights in their tents hearing the crickets chirp, letting the melody lull them to sleep.
All of the stories, and he would just have to imagine them.
He could not help but feel greatly uneased by thinking of him alone with her. He knew Sunny could make her own decisions.
Though this made him jealous of Aaron. He knew it wasn’t right and yet it was the truth. They all grew up with each other, but Aaron grew up to be an attractive well-built man, and he grew up to be the exact opposite.
He’d always wanted to go adventuring with her, he just never had the balls to do so.
So, he joined them on the next adventure to the caves, east of where Aaron hiked long ago.
He joined, because even though Sunny would look at him with these mocking eyes telling him ‘nothing happened’ on those hikes, he was never sure if he really believed her.
Maybe it was also Aaron’s smug face every time he would come back from those hikes. As if he was the king of the world, flexing his muscles, complaining about miniscule mosquito bites.
He would describe the adventure so completely different than Sunny would.
It became harder and harder to discern the truth.
Though, as I stand here in the sand, holding a lamp the size of a household cat, shaking the replacement battery in my other hand, I question if I’ve learned anything coming here.
The walls around me drip into pools that hide sharp pillars deep beneath, ready to pierce any man stupid enough to jump in. Other than the ochre walls, there is only the slight fluttering of bats overhead. I didn’t dare steer the light upwards, fearing to see the top of the cave moving with fur and red eyes.
Aaron is by the pool at the bottom, deep dark and ominous. He says he’ll be back in no time.
It is at this moment, when Sunny comes over to me to keep watch that I decide to be brave.
Sunny assembles the light, ready to switch over the batteries. She stands there, concentrated and so beautiful.
She pauses assembling the contraption and looks up skeptically. “ Uh, ok?”
“Sunny I need to tell you something.”
She stares at me, not like usual, but not positive either. “ ...Go on...”
“I’m jealous of Aaron. I wish it could be me going with you on hikes.”
She starts laughing. Laughing at me. “What? You wouldn’t be able to keep up with me.”
“Yes, but.” I pause. “I want to keep up with you.”
Distantly there are the soft splashes of a rock being skipped across the water.
“I guess someday you could.” She begins working again.
“That’s not what I mean.”
Sighing, her head falls before looking back at me. “Finn, we need to switch the battery, you need to get to the point.”
“I am in love with you.”
She stares at me, first surprised, then melts into deep annoyance. One eyebrow raises.
“Finn, I’m in a relationship. Have you been so far up your asshole that you think you can just go out with me whenever you want because we’ve been friends for so long?”
I made a mistake.
“You have a boyfriend?”
“I am dating a girl Finn.”
I made a mistake.
Somewhere off in the distance there is a loud splash.
The light flickers off.