I imagined it'd be the perfect place to bring one's lover, along with a blanket and some vanilla-scented candles. Letting the red glow of the sunset seep through the dense vines while sharing the fresh evening air betwixt passionate breaths and falling asleep to the sounds of the gentle wind wrestling leaves to the ground.
"This would be a great place for you and your friends to toke up," my father realized. I didn't respond, unsure whether it was a joke or a suggestion. "We should get home," he said. "Your mother will be back soon."
My father and I slowly made our way back to the house. We helped my mother pack the last of her clothes into the trunk of the car. "Did you get everything?" my father asked.
"I think so," she said. "If not, I can always come back." My mother closed the car door and drove away. My father suggested we order pizza. I told him I wasn't hungry and walked back down to the woods.
In the following week I went to the woods daily to renovate the riverbed. I had a Mexican blanket on the ground and two large stones to sit on. I ran thread through leaves to decorate walls and made a table out of an uprooted tree stump.
One evening after dinner my father asked if I was going to the woods again. "I don't know," I lied. "Maybe."
"I thought that maybe we could both go," he suggested. Despite the riverbed being our discovery I had come to think of the place as a personal sanctuary. "I thought we could bring this." My father pulled out a small flask; it smelled like whiskey.
"Where did you get that?" I asked.
"A gift from your cousin." There was a youthful pride in his response.
It was especially cold in the woods that night, but we had a fire and liquor to keep us warm. "I like what you've done with the place. Where did you get this rug?"
"It was in the basement."
"I like it," he said, nodding in agreement with his own statement. That was the last we would speak on that night. We both laid back and stared up at the mobile of leaves and grasses. I imagined a heavy rainfall filling the riverbed and carrying our bodies into the ocean where we would float for eternity. Occasionally I would hear a faint laugh from the other side of the stump that echoed with somber regret. I wanted to reach over and touch his arm. Tell him it was only temporary and things would get better once we reached the ocean. But I couldn't.
The following evening I went back to the riverbed but it wasn't the same. The vines were dying and falling to the ground and my mobile had been disfigured by an especially windy afternoon. I tried thinking of what else I could add to my creation, but I had nothing more to offer it and it had nothing left to offer me.
I walked home and sat on the couch in front of the television. My father came into the room and sat down next to me. "Are you watching the game?" he asked.
"No," I said. "It's General Hospital. I can change it."
"No." He took the remote from my hand. "Leave it here."