Note: this story takes place on First Nations traditional territory. It’s a fun one about a recent overnight trip, written in response to the prompt: “How did I end up here?”
“What should I name my pee-zee?”
We were a group of mostly lesbians, gathered around a campfire at our campsite on Vancouver Island’s southwest coast. My friend was obsessed with her new toy: a device that allowed her to pee standing up. Every so often she’d gleefully shout: “Be right back!”, and frolic off into the woods. We were excited about it too; a little jealous, even. We were also a little buzzed. Naming it only seemed natural.
How did I end up here?
No, not here. Here, at the foot of the Douglas fir trees, with trunks for days. Here, at the edge of the Juan de Fuca trail, across the strait from Washington’s Olympic National Park. Just a few hours from Victoria, where streets full of summer tourists had quickly been replaced with quiet roads that wound through towering forests. Québecois music had played in the background as we drove, courtesy of the driver who was visiting from la belle province. We had pitched our tents quickly, in case the rain came early. We’d grabbed cans of beer and hurried down the trails, past fir and spruce and cedar giants, down the steps to the beach. My girlfriend had practiced parkour. We had hopped on logs and peeked into driftwood huts that would collapse when the tide came in. Dipped our toes in the frigid water and promised ourselves that we would swim in the ocean this summer. We had sipped our beer in the sand until the first drops of rain began to fall, and hurried back to our campsite to start a fire before the wood got damp.
No, that was easy. But how did I get here? How did I end up on this island where I could so comfortably be myself? Here, watching a fire burn and throwing out names of characters from our favourite prison dramas, christening the extraordinary urination device.
Raindrops were falling gently. I squeezed my girlfriend tightly and smiled as my friend took Piper the pee-zee into the woods for a final frolic. I looked up towards the top branches of those remarkable trees. The rain was beginning to fall heavily; it would sound soothing from inside the tent.
How did I end up here? It didn’t matter; here I was.