Hidden Dangers of Camping
A Storyby Liesl Wilke
Sawyer has an outsize fondness for the old van, a remnant of the ’70s, of youth and promise and the easy expression of his proletariat soul. But now he drives Suzanne and four children, draped across a mound of camping gear in back, all refusing seats unless everyone agrees to sit in one. It’s a time of road trips without seat belts, feet up on windows, and shared Triscuits and comic books. Looking the most put out by the entire journey is his eldest daughter, Casey, nearly fifteen and coiled like a spring. Casey’s just started high school, on the edge of girl- and womanhood, fantasy and intellect. She’s also his favorite, something he tries to hide. If all men are created equal, so should be all daughters, but Sara, the youngest, is just a challenge. She doesn’t sit still well. Will probably grow up to be a racecar driver, or a waitress. Something allowing for motion and new things to look at around every bend, not unlike her mom. Ruby’s in another car with another man, something they’ve all planned and agreed on. Sawyer suspects it will all be more awkward than Ruby imagines but, hey, she’s his wife and he knows better after fifteen years than to fight with her unless it’s really necessary. She’s the kind of brawler who leaves an emotional mark.