David’s misery is painted across his face. “You fiend. Manipulative devil.” He says, shaking his head repeatedly. Erik grins and shrugs.
“You trusted me, and I’ve shown nothing to say I’m not trustworthy.” Erik says, smiling widely.
“As if drugging me and reading my private journal is not wrong.” David scoffs.
“I was curious, which is not a sin.” Erik says, “It’s simply human.”
David sighs and slumps his shoulders, “Well I guess there’s nothing to be done about it. We may as well leave right now.” David loads his pack with water, bread and dried fruit, and loads a second for Erik.
They walk out the front door, Erik shaking with excitement, grinning and then trying to fight his smile periodically. David stops. He thinks of the consequences of giving the wrong type of person this gift, and decides to test Erik.
“I will not take you.” David says, “When you drugged me,, you proved yourself unworthy.”
Erik feigns solemnity. He can see through David’s act and realizes he is just testing him. David is so weakly willed; his lip is quivering and his eyes have a tinge of desperate hope.
Erik shrugs and says, “Alright, I understand. It’s your secret to share or keep.”
David is confused.
“But how will you ever get Marilyn back? It’s been months since you’ve seen someone and the person who comes along next could be worse. I’m simply curious. I’m not a bad person, you’d have been just as, if not more curious to find out if you had been in my situation.” Erik reasons with him.
David and Erik make eye contact and Erik is disturbed by how old David’s eyes are. They lack the sparkle, the brightness of youth; dull and colorless. “Alright, I’ll take you there,” David says, “But we have to get my wife first.”
After traveling for the day, David and Erik make camp. Erik starts the fire and David prepares pea soup in the kettle. Once the fire is roaring, David hangs the soup to cook. “Trust you didn’t taint the soup,” Erik laughs. David looks at him, face grim. Erik laughs harder at David’s non-reaction.
The soup isn’t poisoned, but David secretly adds extra spice, in the hope of souring Erik’s bowels. After dinner, David brings out a pipe, and the men smoke while watching the sunset over the peaks of nearby mountains.
Once in bed, David falls quickly asleep, while Erik lies awake the entire night, too excited to get any sleep. He is more restless than usual, tossing and turning with a smile pasted on his face. For the first time in his life, he takes great joy looking at the stars, thousands of years old and reaching us just now.
As soon as Erik sees David rise the next morning,, he does so himself. He is still smiling strongly as they continue their journey. Halfway through the day, David leads Erik on a sharp right turn at a large boulder helter skelter in the grassy fields. After only a few minutes, Erik spots an object fairly far away. It’s a polished grey pick-up truck, gleaming in the sun. David tells Erik to wait and gets down on his stomach underneath the truck. He remains in this posture for several minutes; Erik feels the weight of time again and anxiously taps his right foot.
David shuffles backwards on his tummy, and then stands, holding a large potato sack, full of oblong objects and distinctive shapes. “Well aren’t you guna introduce me, David?” Erik asks pseudo politely.
David’s eyebrows narrow. “That’s simply insensitive of you.” He says and begins walking away. Erik catches up to him in time to hear him say, as an afterthought “She can’t introduce herself in this form, how do you think that makes her feel.” Erik shakes his head, eyebrow cocked in wonder. David and Erik pass the boulder and after turning sharply, are headed on their journey feeling quite crowded.
That night, Erik is disturbed by the use of the bag of bones in David’s sleeping routine. It seems to be treated as a body pillow of sorts, David’s smooth skin holding the bag close. Erik turns away from this and falls easily asleep, anxious to get to the next day.
Erik is woken to an unusual proposal. “Carry Marilyn for a bit Erik? She’s light, but I would most enjoy a rest.” Marilyn is tumbled heavily into Erik’s lap.
David lies, Marilyn is most definitely not light. “David, you messed with my soup. Marilyn weighs more than I do. Are you sure your wife wasn’t twenty-seven year old male twins?” Erik says, as the sun beats down on his sweaty forehead.
David turns around and shushes Erik violently. “I think she’s in fantastic shape.” He whispers intensely, cloudy eyes darting around nervously. Erik shrugs in response and follows David.
The days pass slowly, and Erik does not sleep, he simply can’t. Every night he is in his own world of extreme excitement, apprehension and fear. Does he want to live forever? Is he sure he never wants to die? He thought so, but perhaps death is the way out, the get-out-of-jail-free card of life, not the board game. He ultimately decides that he does want to go through with it, however, because he remembers he could simply kill himself with force if need be.
Days pass like a dream, a haze of similar looking locations and conversations. David and Erik had become quite well tuned to one another, no longer needing to speak. They passed the majority of the journey without any spoken words, communicating with grunts and facial expressions.
Before long, however, David and Erik are climbing a very steep hill. Rocks jutt out like ledges which one can use to negotiate the climb. Erik slips near the top but David is ready and grabs his collar, lifting him up and displaying surprising strength. Erik catches his breath at the top, heart beating intensely. How ironic that would be, to make it this far, to be so close to infinity only to get one’s brains splattered on rock.
David lifts Erik to his feet with one hand and points at the horizon. A huge stone shape protrudes confidently, within their grasp. “Only a day’s journey” David informs Erik as the sun sets and they make camp. “We’ll be in by tomorrow.” Erik is full of excitement. Time itself, the bane of existence, has been discarded like trash. It will no longer have any relevance.
The night passes painfully slowly for Erik, as he considers every possibility and is ecstatic at the level of his cunning. David sleeps poorly as well, worried that even the best-laid plans can be felled with bad luck.