Pulling my hat from over my face, I checked my watch as the space blanket crinkled like a Doritos bag all around me. The foreign sound cut into the silence of the forest outside Catawba Mountain shelter. I poked my head out of my bag and peeked around.
If my body had a way of numbing chronic pain, then my mind did, too. Swaths of my consciousness had callused from the dissonance of war, and my mind willfully ignored these contradictions to preserve its sanity. But on the trail, I had time to unpack my baggage...
He propped up his hips and slid the pants over his thighs, then buttoned the waist and yanked up the zipper before he fell back down to the warm grass. I craned my neck around the corner of the building, making sure no one could see him.
We’d turned the inside of the trailside shelter into a Depression-era Hooverville. Plastic and tent pieces enclosed the space, our makeshift engineering and ingenuity an act of desperation. Water filled the fire pit.