I wake up in a haze. I feel like I've been awake for a while but also feel like I've been asleep for that time. The first thing I see is the blue mesh of our tent directly above me. When I say our tent I mean me and my kelpie, Red. I can hear him snoring very loudly next to me and it's not something I can deal with this early in the morning. I gently push him aside and as I do I look at my dirty hands. The side directly next to my little finger is dark brown from all the drawing I did last night of the landscape. My nails are short and stubby - from all the times I've scraped them or bitten them on nights where I can't figure out what to capture. My entire hand is dotted with speckles of almost faded white paint and sparkles - a result of an artwork I did a few days ago. There is dirt underneath every fingernail - but I rather like it.
The door to our tent is open - and it was all night just in case Red needed to go out. I don't tell him but I love feeling the wind and musk waft into out tent. I look out into the area we're camped out in - our tarpaulin from stargazing last night still out next to the trees. I want to shade my eyes from the golden light but I don't because its captivating and startlingly beautiful. The lyrebirds are chirping away and the light is making silhouettes of the spindly trees in the distance. When we wandered here a few days ago in the pouring rain - I hadn't expected to see this view.
I look back to Red and am not surprised to find him awake and looking straight at me. He often does this and it makes me smile every single time he does. I step out onto the soft, damp bark and whistle to Red. As soon as I stand up he's at my heels and waiting for what will happen next. I stretch out my limbs and hum softly an old song Red knows. Red barks because he knows what I'm singing. I collapse with laughter after he jumps on me and licks my face with anticipation and happiness. I quickly jump up and run towards the sunlight with Red a few metres behind me. I know exactly where I'm going but I'm positive Red doesn't. I grab hold of a thick, brambly tree and climb my way up to the highest branch I can see. Red is looking at me with a curious yet confused expression on his face but once I start singing our song again he's lying on his back in sheer happiness. Once I finish the song I look down and see him sleeping heavily and snoring. I creep back down the tree, pick him up (and he's not the lightest) and carry him back to our site. I lie him up against a nice tree we found yesterday and retrieve my sketchbook and a brown pencil.
I reckon this will be my best drawing yet.
the water laps over my feet every few seconds and man that water is nice. my hair piled up in a nice bun looses a ringlet every time i swing. my rough denim jeans feel so comfy against my goosbumped skin. my warm tshirt catches each ray of sunlight and presses it against my chest. my chipped fingernails and rough hands clutch to the harsh rope - and i can feel the marks ingraining in my hand.
the quiet rush of the stream is the only sound i hear - apart from the sound of Sam's giggling above me. i look up and admire Sam. god he is beautiful. he's wearing an old shirt and a pair of jeans that come just below his knee. his light sprinkling of freckles across his golden face are lightened as a ray of light shines against him. his brown wide eyebrows furrow as he looks at me with a grin. his lips - a light shade of peach open as his laugh echoes around the bush.
i dive into the cool water - watching as Sam opens his mouth in disbelief. i smile like i know something he doesn't and dive underwater towards the bank. i whisper "go on" and just like that he jumps from such a great height and swims to be next to me. these are the first two words I've said to Sam but I'm hoping i ll get to say a lot more. he reaches behind me to get his book - an old hemingway classic and the only book he brought with him. i didn't ask why but i get the feeling he's read it a few times. the front cover has scars and creases and thumb marks that match Sam's fingers. I've been watching him a lot lately and know he's been watching me too. I don't about the book but ask him to read me an extract.
he says no and puts the book down. he looks like he's concentrating in a funny way and i laugh and i can tell he's impressed. instead he starts reciting a quote that i can tell he's been trying to remember. his voice, a husky country boy voice starts slow and whispers:
"What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you."
i smile and rest my head on his shoulder.