Tom sat in the backyard by the fire, watching the flames, when Donnie stepped out. He brought two beers and handed one to his husband before taking a seat beside him.
“They’re both down?” Tom asked.
“Yup, they crashed as soon as their heads hit the pillow.”
“It was a busy day with the drive, then playing at the pool.“
“I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did.”
They both took a sip from their beers and leaned back in their blue Adirondack chairs. A light breeze rustled the leaves of the elm tree, but the sky was cloudless, and they could see the stars above.
“Remember when we camped with everyone up Waskesiu and the northern lights were out?” Donnie said.
Tom smiled. “Yeah. I could’ve watched them all night.”
“I’ll never forget the sound.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Of the lights?”
“Yeah. It sounded like wind blowing over bottle tops.”
“Are you certain?”
“You don’t believe me?”
'I’m just saying I never heard anything like it.”
“Well, one of these days, I’ll take you back up there and prove it.”
“Okay,” Tom said with a smirk, raising his beer before taking a drink.
They fell into silence again, listening to the crackle of the fire and an owl in a tree a few houses over.
“How about we take the kids up there sometime?” Donnie suggested.
“What do you mean? Camping?”
“Sure. Why not?”
Tom sneered. “How about bears for starters?”
“What are you talking about?” Donnie tried not to laugh.
“They’re wandering all over the place. Don’t you remember they told us to keep our campsite clean and our food in the car?”
“When did you quit being so adventurous?”
“Kids are messy. I found a granola bar under Molly’s pillow last night.”
“And so we warn them. It’s not like a bear is going to haul one of our kids away—”
“You sure about that?”
Donnie paused, knowing this was a fight he wasn’t going to win.
As if on cue, the neighbours across the alley started fighting. First, the husband, then the wife.
“Do they not realize the entire block can hear them?”
“Do they even care?”
“I just feel sorry for the kids.”
“Their son is already like them. He was swearing at their dog.”
Donnie and Tom fell into silence again, knowing the neighbours would carry on for a while before someone would storm off down the back alley in a car.
“Perhaps some time at the lake might do us good,” Tom said.
Donnie perked up. “Really? You want to go tenting?”
“How about we start with a camper or a cabin?”
“Sounds good. And we’ll take it up north—“
“Alright, settle down.”
“So high up, I’ll get you all to hear the lights.”
“Sure, okay.” Tom smiled. He liked seeing the enthusiasm on Donnie’s face. He grabbed another log and threw it on the fire. He settled back and closed his eyes. Soon enough the fight would be done, and he and his husband could enjoy the rest of the evening.
To be honest, there isn't too much fancy with this story. I wasn't sure what I was writing about and my wife suggested we should have a firepit tonight, so that's what inspired it.
It originally started around the idea of the empty nest, with our kids growing up and spending less time with us, but it turned into this one.
My only real focus was to share a happy couple and an unhappy couple and show how the one resolved their differences with compromise.
Not the greatest story, but I don't know if it needed too much on this warm (24 C as I finish this up) Friday night.