Not my first try at fiction, but my first to just sit down and write and post. The only way to write better is to write more, right?
Rational fears are fascinating. We all have scenarios we dwell on. I claim fear of complacency. Sure, there are those late night discussions with friends, where we all nod in agreement that we desperately hope we’re not all doing the same thing in five years. But it’s a staged conversation because we all know that three thirty year old guys getting high in a basement on a Wednesday night is socially unacceptable. I know Adam dwells on death and that Kyle can’t stand the idea of not being liked. We pass a poorly rolled joint between the three of us, wishing that changing your life was as easy as deciding what food you wanted. I hatch the best plans when I’m high, the issue is the follow through. I was mentally taking life by the bootstraps and physically glued to the couch when Adam called me back down.
“What do you think, Steven?” I knew our minds were on the same track so I just nodded, and it was decided.
That’s how the three of us were. We never made plans, not because we were spontaneous, but because we were indecisive. On the rare occasion that we did put some forethought (or any thought) into something, it was undoubtedly happening.
“Are we really doing this? Like, it’s fucking happening?” Adam was easily anxious. He was talkative and honestly a bit annoying, but he was fiercely loyal and the closest thing I had to family. I brought out my overly stuffed duffel bag to prove that yes, it was indeed happening. Although, his anxiety had cause considering a website existed that was dedicated to Yosemite deaths. Our decision to embark on a ‘life-changing’ adventure was impulsive, but the planning wasn’t. We weren’t reckless thirty-somethings, but we weren’t family-man predictable either. We wanted more than the “Plan your trip” guide could offer, but less than an “Into the Wild” experience. I upped my hours at the restaurant I bar-tended at, telling my manager “I needed the money to support a sick family member,” so that I could afford the equipment necessary to survive and hopefully thrive. Adam handled the how-to-not-die-in-Yosemite research because details were his thing and the more prepared he felt, the better for us. Kyle had the most outdoor experience, his family owned campgrounds on a nearby lake, so he was in charge of the itinerary and all other “captain” related responsibilities. We assigned duties according to our strengths and dedicated time to improve our weaknesses. We gave ourselves a month to prepare, whatever that meant to us individually. We all knew that our physical limits would be tested, so instead of going out drinking on the weekends, we started hiking, rock-climbing and swimming. Plus we met at my house a couple nights a week to report back, but spent the majority of the time playing out “what if” scenarios. Some were positive, others were gruesome.There were moments when I wanted to back out, when I doubted that more uncertainty would bring me certainty. I knew Adam and Kyle had similar fears, but knew we had to fight fear with fear.
I found a newly wed couple to rent my small house to, Kyle put his stuff in storage and moved out of his apartment and Adam lived with his parents, so he just walked on out. After we each handled cutting ties, we met at my (soon to be Vanessa and Walter’s) place. Kyle pulled up in our ride, a 2002 Jeep Liberty, and we got to packing. We slapped each other on the backs and joked like usual, because we knew that 1,620 miles on the road meant a lot of time for thinking.