Gina opened her mouth but nothing came out, so she just turned and walked back to the car. I nodded to her slightly, and watched as the woman sat back down in her chair and put her head down on the fold-up card table she had brought out. There was nothing my mouth wanted to create either, so I just let Gina pull my hand, and in turn the rest of my body away.
As I started it up, Gina stared blankly out the window at the woman. “I feel bad taking this,” she said quietly, her head stuck somewhere else. Before the thought could finish, the car had moved on and we were rapidly traveling back through the pine-covered hills. The thought never allowed itself to come fully into being, but it sat in the car, hovering over the cup holders in between us, watching the road with silent fascination.
It was nearing dusk when we had reached the campsite in the midst of the Finger Lake Forest area. By the time that the sun had reached the tree line, we had set up the tent, unpacked our supplies, collected a small wood run, and I had began to cook something up for dinner. While I grilled, Gina sat cross-legged on the picnic table behind me eating a homemade salad from the co-op in the city, and inspecting the camera. After a while, she put down her salad, picked up the camera, loaded film into it, and walked off towards the water.
It was a quick minute walk from our campsite to the gorgeous rocky beach that led into the water. With the fiery sunset extinguishing itself on the surface of the water I wasn’t surprised to see her turn in that direction. After scarfing down a quick grilled meal, I followed her down.
She sat on the wet grey rocks, slowly rocking back and forth, holding a picture in her hands. The camera had slipped out of her grip and lay on its side near by as if it were nothing more than debris from a tiny hurricane. I ran down and leaned besides her, putting my hand on her shoulder, but she made no movement to indicate she knew I was there. Her eyes remained focused, trained on the image of the sunset reflecting off the water.
“Gina,” I whispered softly as I put an arm around her, and pulled her against me. I was nervous that she had slipped and smashed her head on the rock, but there was no blood or scrape to validate that thought. “Gina, are you okay?” I slid my hand down her arm, scuffing against the coarse wool of her sweater. Underneath it I could feel a sea of goose bumps, as soft as bubble wrap on her skin. My hand slid further down to her hand, gripping the photo, and as soon as my skin touched hers, she gasped loudly and began to run back up to the site. Only a few quick words came from her mouth, but in a voice that sounded only vaguely similar: “I’m burning it.”