By Tara Roberts
The baby Sasquatch, though, is happy. He’s been humming into my ear for most of our dash away from the camp where we rescued him. It’s tuneless, but not nervous. More like a cat purring. Once I stumbled and nearly flung him off my back, and he let out a hooting laugh.
It’s just enough motivation to keep me going, even though I haven’t run this far — or, let’s face it, run at all, other than the occasional zip around the park with my kids — since I was a teenager.
The creek we’ve been following widens, and in some places it’s so deep and fast we can hear it rushing beneath the ice. The trees thicken, then break into a meadow with a tiny log cabin in the middle. It’s just in time: A snowstorm is blowing in.
Jamie drops the packs and begins to paw through the snow in front of the door. She yanks out a ceramic lawn gnome, flips a latch behind its head and pulls a key out of its hat. “Oh, thank God they still keep it here.”
“Wait,” I say, working hard to get words out between gasps for air. “You weren’t sure where the key was?”
She ignores me, turning to unlock the door. I let the lack of explanation go until we’re inside, where Jamie starts rummaging through drawers looking for a lighter to start the propane lantern.
“You didn’t bring a lighter?” I say from my spot at the kitchen table. The Sasquatch sits in my lap, smacking together a plastic spatula and a wooden spoon.
“They always have a bunch,” she says. “See?” She pulls one from a drawer triumphantly.
“And you weren’t sure if the key would be here?”
She shrugs and clicks the lighter to check for a flame. “In college it was always in the gnome.”
“Jamie,” I say. “Did you tell your old boyfriend we were going to crash in his cabin?”
She touches the lighter to a lantern and it bursts to life, giving off a gentle warmth along with light. “Well, I didn’t think he’d mind. Facebook says he’s in Hawaii right now, so … ”
I take a long breath through my nose, wrap my arms around the happy Sasquatch and decide to let it go. “OK. Fine. We should start a fire and get something to eat. And we have to figure out what to do with … him.”
She steps over and scratches the Sasquatch on his brown furry head. He starts to hum again. “Aw, he likes me!” She’s so excited, my anger toward her softens a little. “There’s a wood shed out back. I’ll get the fire started, you make some oatmeal. Sound good?”
“Sounds good,” I say. “But Jamie?”
I put on my best mom voice: chipper with an edge of dire seriousness. “We’re in kind of a crazy situation here. We need to tell each other the truth from here on out, OK?”
She grins. “Of course, Rose!”
But I get the feeling there’s more she has left unsaid.
Coming next week …
Roberts is a writer and mom who lives and works in Moscow and is very slowly pursuing her master’s degree in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org