By Scott Mathson
John caught Allen’s attention by whistling a high pitch, yet quiet tone.
“Hey man, s—hit. . .can. . .rest!?”
Allen chuckled and shook his head, saving his breath. They both opened up their differing backpacks, John reaching for his leftover Subway sandwich nestled deep inside the pack. He took an enormous bite and gestured to Allen, offering him some. Allen shook his head, reaching into his new backpack. He pulled out the accessible granola bars, unwrapped one and made sure to place the wrapper back in the garbage compartment the backpack offered.
John reached into his wool rich pants’ left pocket (much too hot of a day for those bastards) and pulled out an orange lighter he had carried with him for the past three years. Trying to quit smoking was a royal bitch, but John knew he was stronger than the nicotine. He lit the orange, chipped lighter four times in his nervous, ritualistic way. He thought of why this was important to him and his family and stuck the lighter back in the grey, wool pants.
The men knew the time wasn’t going to take a break for them and that they must make camp before the fall sun set, around five. Their pace has nearly doubled since their twenty minute afternoon siesta. John was shaking his head, in the rear of the parade. Allen reached into his pocket, pulled out a wrinkled photo of Samantha and smiled. His ex-wife, Samantha was and will always be the love of his life. He awed at her blonde, curling hair in the photo, the blue of her eyes seeming heavenly. His thoughts traveled back five years, as his feet traveled mile after mile deeper into the forest.