We drove down to the creek, round the winding path through the trees. The day had been beautiful but now, in the afternoon, the sun was hinting at a near descent. The trees cast shadows over our gleaming car, blocking the sun from my face.
We meet some friends down there, adding two to our four. So whilst Emma and I fished with Dad the others sat around the faded wood table, eating pretzels and cheese.
As I cast the line out it plunked smoothly into the water, sinking slowly to the bottom. I knew fish were somewhere out there, but I knew, with my luck, they would not go within a kilometre of my bait. So quickly we gave up and Emma and I returned to the others to talk of people and places, and everything that there is to talk about.
I didn't talk much; answered when questioned, commented when it required, I didn't mind, I liked listening.
Dad returned to swipe some food, with the only thing to show for his attempts being less bait.
He chatted awhile, ate pretzels, the casual thing, but we were getting hungry. Dad had brought his little gas stove, planning on cooking sausages on it. I smiled when I saw the little stove, I always did. It reminded me of all the times we used to go camping, when we still enjoyed it. But we grew up and time disallowed the adventures we used to have. Even when we did have time, we made sure we didn't.
So it was nice to see the stove, nice to know we'd be eating off it again. But at the time I didn't know how wrong I was.
Dad had brought the gas bottle but didn't think there was enough in it so had asked our friends to bring one. They were more than happy to, but an important thing was forgotten. A cord to connect it to the stove.
I didn't worry at that point, I didn't think we'd run out of gas, it just didn't seem like a thing that would happen.
But nevertheless, as Dad began to cook the sausages with the unknowing gas running out, we all trudged off the see if there were are fire barbeques lurking about.
I walked behind the rest, tracing my up the roots of trees, running my hands along their trunks. I stayed a while to stare at the calm water, just sitting there, not moving though the wind was blowing. It was bliss in those few moments, where I could be whoever I wanted to be, act however I wanted to act. I was a child again, playing pretend under the trees.
My moment didn't last long though, the others were far up ahead and I had to run to reach them. They had found a barbeque, and my services were needed to help collect some branches for wood. We walked through the sparser trees, where branches littered the ground aplenty, and as we wound our way further we found another barbeque, with planks of wood sitting by its hearth.
Well our spot was picked and we went to move our stuff to our new spot. It was an odd sight that received us. Dad had left the sausages out in the pan, with only ants crossing his mind before he dismissed it. But now there were other animals he had to worry about. These were the kookaburras. When we returned we found them sitting on the edge of the pan, happily eating our dinner. Only four were spoiled, thrown to the kookaburras to add to their dinner.
We moved with laughter and jokes about the issue, and I didn't care that we had four less sausages. The fun was worth it.
So in the dying light we waited around the fire, reduced to embers to sit the pan carrying our dinner.
It was resolved that they were cooked, even though no one could see through the dark, with only the fire to aid our sight.
They tasted fine, smothered in tomato sauce and wrapped in a slab of bread.
And as the food was finished, Emma and I lay down on the blanket to look up at the stars that we wouldn't usually see.
It was beautiful to first sight, beautiful to the last. But the beauty that played before our eyes was soon argued, with common disagreements over which constellations were which. We didn't agree on a final answer, we both knew we never would, but still both believed that our choice was right. It didn't help that every second we were changing what we thought, but we didn't mind.
Heads became sore from the lumps in the ground and I was forced to rise, and present myself to the talk going around. Still I just listened though.
I found it odd how they talked about people I didn't know, and then, after their incessant chatter, I felt I knew the person.
Tea came boiling in the kettle, with solutions coming on how the stop the plastic handle melting. So we sat there eating tea and biscuits, lingering in the warm fire.
Mum soon joined us on the blanket and the three of us, Mum, Emma and I, lay down to once again stare at the stars.
By now they had grown in number, creating a picture more beautiful than that of before. Few times I had seen so many stars, but here they were.
It was during these moments when everything felt at peace. All worries were gone, the only matter of the skies was held in my grasp. And as this moment came to me, a star shot brightly across the sky. A rarity to me.
And we gasped and pointed, and quietly I made a wish, that I knew, that if Emma heard it escape my lips, she would gleeful. But I kept it quite, lest the wish come true.
But all nights end, and I found myself once again in the car, winding up the road we had just come down. But the stars were still there, and my window was wound down, just so I could feel the wind in my face and watch the stars in the sky.
It was in this way that a night of problems brought such solutions as to make the night wonderful, beautiful. And though I knew we could come down again, and repeat our actions, it would never be as good as tonight.
For the night was truly special.