512 Words

A Trip to the Edge of the World

Shaun Robinson

We reached the southern tip of the island by mid-afternoon. Teresa and Amber were soaked with sweat and exhausted, so we spread out our blankets in the shade of a large boulder and ate lunch.

David and I had a whispered conference while the girls ate. "Do you think we'll be able to make it back before night?"

"I doubt it," I said through a mouthful of sandwich. "We'll probably have to camp somewhere near that peninsula we passed a few hours back."

David looked upset. "We shouldn't have even brought them. They're slowing us down."

"I think they're doing fine. They're not travelers, like us."

He refused to comment.

The girls seemed to sense his disapproval, but refused to let it get to them. Teresa gestured towards the open ocean before us. "Isn't this gorgeous? You can see forever, it's like standing at the edge of the world."

They wanted to stay for a while to collect shells, but David insisted we get moving. "If we hadn't stopped for an hour at that stream..." he said. They took it all without complaint, determined to have a good time despite him.

"We'll find a nice beach to stop at," I told them.

We'd only been walking for two hours when we came across a beautiful little stretch of smooth sand, shaded by a stand of pines. The girls said it was perfect and that they wouldn't think of camping anywhere else.

"There's three hours of sunlight left!" protested David. They ignored him. David looked to me in supplication, I shrugged my shoulders to tell him I was powerless. He stalked off into the woods in anger, and I was left to set up the tents while the girls searched the shallows for shells and crabs. We would be close to the high tide line, but as long as we paid attention to where we were going if we left the tent at night we would be fine.

They didn't have much luck, so we decided to build a fire to cook a warm dinner on. David still hadn't returned. Amber looked almost worried. "You don't think he's really that angry, do you?"

"He'll be back, after he cools down," I assured her.

"He didn't look that angry,"

"He never does. Don't worry."

We opened up three cans of Campbell's soup and I showed them how to cook on open flame. "Fresh fish on a campfire is better than anything you've ever tasted," I told them. "Maybe we'll try for a trout tomorrow in that stream."

When we finished the sun was touching the edge of the horizon, and there was no sign of David. "He probably decided to go on back to the boat," I said. "There's no use waiting for him. Don't be offended, he just has no patience with people who can't keep up with him."

They looked slightly ashamed, but the sun dipping into the ocean stole our gazes, drawing us to the silence of our surroundings.

After sunset, David was still gone. I quietly suggested we forget him.

Copyright ©1998 Shaun Robinson. All Rights Reserved.

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October, 1998
Issue #30

512 Words