Next day came with sunlight piercing through the clouds and shining on to the van. Illuminating on Matthew’s face through the van’s window. He tried to pull out his arm from the bottom of Caroline, who laid on it through the night. With his hand free, he covered face from sunlight and raised up. Sitting on edge of mattress he turned his head towards Caroline and smiled.
“Morning beautiful.” He shook her gently.
“Morning handsome, what’s for breakfast?”
They began laughing and smiled after that. She extended her arm towards him, he grabbed it and she pulled him back into the mattress. Touching each other skins again, cuddling until both fell asleep for more than ten minutes. Caroline’s face faded and black picture rolled over Matthew’s eyes. In her arms, sleeping in the back of his van he dreamed about Mike, himself and Nicole – three friend reunion. He dreamed about them three hugging altogether when this is over; when he finally founds her. Floating through the dream and out of a sudden, lightswitch flipped in a far distance.
“What?” he rubbed his eyes and looked at her.
“Nothing, you just began snoring.”
“Like a bear?”
“No, like a lovely koala.” She smiled and both of them started laughing.
He kissed her on the forehead and got up to inhale fresh air from the outside of a van. Pulling the side door open he felt the smell of wet leaves; the smell of water, which urged him to get into the river, but outside temperature did not. Matthew stood besides the van with no shirt, trembling from morning’s breeze. He could grab a shirt, but he decided to stay in colder weather without one – to finally wake up. Cold always stimulated him to open his eyes.
The campfire was almost gone, the last burning coal sat at the bottom of the ashes. Matthew poked it little and put a dried tissue over it. Gently blowing at the coal he managed to get fire. Caroline seeing that sigh began smiling at him. She stood beside the van, with a mug in her hand, and a towel covering her whole body. The smile which rosed from her face made Matthew smile – both of them smiled like two silly teenagers.
“You’re like a scout Matthew.” Smiling silly she praised him
“Naah, it’s just simple stuff that Mike taught me. Speaking of Mike, we should get moving soon.”
“Why you out of a sudden want to move? Just look at this place, it’s beautiful. The trees and river beside us, and no one bothering us. It’s majestic here Matty.” She came closer to him and their bodies touched each other.
“Caroline you know that we, I, have to keep moving.”
“Come on Matty, just one more day together – just the two of us.”
He tried to say anything, but her finger was on his lip and her ‘shhh’ made him quiet. Her towel dropped, revealing her half-naked body.
“Ups,” she said “what an accident.” She sexually smiled at him.
He grabbed her by the waist and kissed. Caroline had no intention to change his mind. She just wanted to have a good time and make him realize the good things in life come in simple ways. She pulled him closer to the van. Her body touched the side of the cold metal of a van and she bit Matthews lip from the sudden cold behind her. Caroline’s body began moving across the side of a van and Matthew was there with her, passionately kissing her. Minutes into kissing and Matthew pulled himself of her, leaving her half-naked body against the van. Women in nothing but boots and panties stood in front of him.
“You are seducing, I’ll give you that.”
“I didn’t even try.” She leaned closer to him, beginning to kiss his neck.
“Okay, we’ll stay another day here, but do you have the slightest idea about what we could do here? It’s the beginning of the day and we have to come up with something.” He stared down into her eyes and she looked up in his. She nodded and continued where he left off.
“We can finish that bottle for starters,” she lightly laughed “and later on we can have some fun together. We can spend this whole day, just the two of us. Two of us when we can act however we want.”
“You really like me, do you?”
“But of course silly.” She squeezed tighter in his arm.
Campfire began sparking beneath them, forcing both of them to step slightly from it. Matthew focused himself on the campfire, while Caroline stepped inside for the rest of the bottle. She got into a hammock, leaving a bottle at the bottom – beneath the hammock.
Curling into the hammock and making silly jokes about themselves turned morning into early afternoon. Matthew sat in the vans opening and she was hanging in the hammock. They both considered themselves free spirits, at least Caroline did. She reminded Matthew that they can live like this until they get tired of it, which wouldn’t happen in near future. Sharing cup of vodka and orange juice mixed together, along with jokes about each other past. At this moment Caroline finally began telling him about her past; about why she left her country to pursue a sense of freedom.
“You truly want to know about my past, do you mate?”
“Well, I know only a little, but if you don’t want to tell, its fine by me.”
“You can be modest, you know that?” she took a sip from a metal mug in which was the cocktail. “It all began on the day when I got rejected from fifteen job application. I wanted to be a journalist.”
“A journalist?” his eyes widened
“Yeah, and they didn’t let me be one. All the time they told that I’m underqualified or have no experience, or you know that golden phrase they give on almost every job interview – we’ll call you. God, it was an emotional downfall for me. So, after a week of feeling sorry for myself, I gathered all the cash I can and packed my backpack with only the necessary stuff I would need. I remember how my mother told me that this is crazy journey I’m taking.”
“You started hitchhiking? Am I right?” Matthew held his cup like he’s about to warm it up with his palms.
“Yup. She told me ‘You? Alone in the world? Hitchhiking?’ She wanted me to go and work some job that I didn’t want, but It would pay well. All that just to stay and live in the capital. You know the happy ever after. Steady work, clean house, and all I had to do were stay, stay and work.” Her smile faded away and became more serious.
“But that’s is what all of our parents expect from us, don’t you think?”
“In a way, but that’s is not the case. After I left my country, the first guy that stopped by was a guitar player. He drove me for some polite distance towards the south, played songs by the campfire and later on we had sex – I liked him.” she gestured for the cup Matthew was holding and he passed it to her “I felt freedom when weeks of living on the road passed. I could never imagine my life without making the decision I made half a year ago. All the stuff I’ve seen is just priceless – I can’t put a price tag on it. Of course, there were moments when I wanted to give up. Call my mother and take the next flight home, but something inside me told me that I have to keep living this life.” She smiled at Matthew and took a sip from the mug.
“But how you ended up at Ruth’s place, if you were into Europe like that?”
“I felt an urge to come to visit my family. And I must tell you something about the Ruth because I can’t hide it anymore,” she took another sip “promise you won’t be mad about it?”
“Okaaay, I’ll try. Is there really something about you that would make me mad?”
“I don’t know, you tell me. So, first of all, I don’t know any Ruth,” Matthew’s eyes widened and he looked with a serious look at her “I was passing by in that morning; in the morning when you laid on the ground, and I saw the van parked there. I had no idea whose property it was, but I saw a plate on the fence ‘Edgar & Ruth’ and address underneath it.”
“So you lied to me, just get out of the country.” He stood up and she turned to him, sitting on the hammock and staring into the cup.
“Yes, I did. I came just to say hello, and for you not to freak out I told that I’m Ruth’s friend. Later on, when we read that note on the fridge, I understood; understood that I have to go with this, and I had no idea how to confess to you about it. I’m sorry Matthew.”
Her head lowered in sorrow and she didn’t speak a word after it – none of them did. Matthew felt disappointed that he trusted a complete stranger. “Is she a friend or stranger?” he thought to himself. Wood sparking slightly filled the silence between them. Silence raised up, with the only sound coming from water and leaves, which were blown by wind constantly. Each of them was now inside their own heads. Urge for each other disappeared, and none of them had a desire for it to appear – at least not for upcoming hours. Carolin thought of the way to make it better, but she couldn’t acknowledge any. While Matthew remained with one question in his mind “What did Ruth meant by that friend of hers if she isn’t the one?” After a brief moment, Matthew began hearing a vibration coming from inside of a van. Curiously he stepped in, to try and locate the source of weird vibration. It was his phone. It stopped ringing the moment he grabbed it. Looking into the screen he saw that there were multiple unanswered calls from an unknown number. A brief moment later it began calling again, but his time he managed to pick up.