She wondered how he could always talk her into doing things she really wasn’t up for. He couldn’t help the longing to go outside and rock hunt again even though they had gone several times this season. She couldn’t say no.
They hit the road, unsure where they would end up. For the hour they spent driving around, in search of the perfect spot, they spoke of the fall scenery with its luscious trees of red, orange, and yellow. It mimicked landscapes they had seen in their art history classes. Their conversation turned into things they wanted in their future. Ideas swirled through their words as they passed farms equipped with horses, cows, chickens, and beautifully constructed barns. They both had dreams of someday living this kind of self-sufficient lifestyle, agreeing an organic farm was the best plan of action.
As they warily drove through hunting territory, he spotted the perfect place for rocks. They pulled into the gravel driveway near the river that was streaming under a large overpass, getting out cautiously and mapping out where they were going to search. He saw rocks beneath the overpass, thinking to himself that they were perfect for his fish tank. The only issue was getting to the area in which he had sought out. The land that lead to the underbelly of the overpass was soggy from the past two days of constant rain. The trail to the other side was practically mush under their feet, but he was determined to find the best way. The only real option was to go further out from the river, going in a semi circle to reach the other side.
He trudged ahead, looking back several times to see her progress, noticing that she had stopped part way to look at a tiny fossil she’d found on a stone. It sometimes frustrated him how easily she was distracted but over time he learned to accept it about her.
She began to slowly cross the landscape full of mud and weeds to get to him, feeling tiny sharp pricks up and down her legs. Looking to see the source of this unpleasant sensation, she noticed hundreds of tiny burrs caught in her jeans and in the cloth portion of her boots. The cold began to nip at her extremities even giving her an ear ache as she again questioned why she had agreed to this.
Once they met up with each other on the other side of the field, they compared the amount of which their jeans were saturated with the burrs, trying simultaneously to brush and pull them from their clothing. She could still feel the tiny stickers poking her bare skin even after removing the body of the burrs.
They moved on, knowing they would encounter more later on and focusing their attention on the large rocks he accumulated. The realization that they would have to venture back the same way they came didn’t sit well with her. She complained as usual even though she knew the outcome would be the same.
He was the first out of the mess, though she stayed close behind not letting any distractions come between her and the safety of his truck. He loaded the rocks in the bed of the truck, motioning quickly to fight of the prickly burrs from his jeans. She too began the tedious process of pulling them from her clothes, feeling as though she would never be able to get them all off. Her shoes were covered as well, the tiny pests finding their way into her socks causing even more pain.
He gave up on his own wardrobe and came to her rescue. He leaned down to strip her of the tiny bug-like pokers caught on her clothes and shoes as she balanced her arm against his back. “This is how you know I love you.” He said as he gently freed her from the many burrs that caused her discomfort. She could feel it in his words and in his touch that what he said was true.
She replied, “Just so you know, I love you too.” And she kissed him on the top of his head.