Everything's Worth Something, But Most Things Aren't Worth Much, So Hold On to the Good Stuff

(August 11, 2005)

He's walking away, disappearing down a sunset-red trail still wet from the afternoon's rain, when she spots him from her leafy hiding place. She digs her sneakers into the soil and tiptoes after him, steps and arm gestures exaggerated like those of a mildly demented comic book character as a sly grin spreads over her face. Her moist footsteps sound impossibly loud to her, but he doesn't seem to notice, his attention focused on the route ahead rather than the stalking girl behind; crossing her fingers, she draws within a few feet of her prey.

The next second or so is a blur of extended arms, fingers impersonating claws, a scream of HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!, and a sudden impact that topples the horizon and makes the bushes dance. He finds himself lying face-down, sliding gently forward through the mud as a giggling forest-monster clings to his jacket and prepares her best me-so-repentant expression. She rides him as if he were a stunned pony for a few inches, one fist raised in the air like a triumphant cowboy or a rocking-out DJ, then smiles a smile of purest innocence as he shakes the dirt out of his eyes and twists around to peer at her. He doesn't look particularly surprised, somehow; instead, after a moment of stunned silence, he coughs out the best reply of a warcry possible in his position - Kheeeeeeeeehhhhhh...! - and rolls over.

They flail their way through the underbrush, sending squirrels fleeing to distant corners of the forest in terror as mud spatters in all directions. She can barely see, but tactile sensations make up for the loss of the sky: ferns scratching her back and arms, his fingers tickling her sides and behind her knees, the soft earth yielding as she lands hard on her shoulder and her side in cycles. They're both laughing hysterically when not actively attempting to pummel each other, and when they finally run out of breath, she flops over to lie near him, stretching out over the trail and wheezing. He leans up on one elbow and stares at her with amused curiosity.

"What the hell was that?"
"Well, I just... y'know... basically, you make me happy."
"You have a funny way of showing it."
"Yeah, usually."

She wipes the worst of the grass and muck from his nose, then kisses it with a wink before curling up against his chest with a goofy little smile.