Whew! I just got back from a relatively enjoyable weekend away from life. As nice as it is to hang around with the girls, it's just good to get away from it all.
The Pearce family are maybe not the most tight-knit family unit in the world, but Mom and Dad do seem to enjoy family activities, and as much as I value my personal time, when Dad brought up the subject of the apparently-annual Memorial Day camping trip, it came along at a good enough time that I felt like it would be a good idea to spend some time with these people while they're still in my life. (I call them "Mom and Dad" because even though I know their real names, it feels more natural for me to call them that, if that makes any sense.)
Of course, just because it came along at a good time for me doesn't mean it was a good time for everybody. Mae's been moping around all month over the prolonged disintegration of her relationship with Ed. I have to admit, as an observer, I'm not that shocked. Considering how uncomfortable he seemed on the rare occasions he'd been around the family, it seemed he was only in for something casual (slash physical.) They've been going out for most of my time as Tori, and if he didn't think it was "serious," well... then I don't know what is serious.
So she was not keen on coming along. She wanted to stay at home and take care of Scruff (the English sheepdog I rarely talk about, yet he sleeps right outside my door) but Dad nixed that idea and pretty much dragged her out against her will, letting Ken and his fiancee take care of the dog over the weekend.
So she was pretty temperamental over the course of the 90 minute drive out to the campgrounds.
I hadn't enjoyed camping much as a youngster, but mainly because it always felt like my dad and brother used it as an excuse to show off how much manlier than me they were. We went a few times, and by the end of it I was, well, a much more introverted version of Mae. Just angry about stuff.
It wasn't the test of survival I was expecting, though. Even though we had tents (which were a bitch to put up,) we had plenty of amenities. Electricity via generator. Magazines. Mae has a Nintendo DS. We weren't exactly roughing it.
So on Saturday morning, Dad woke me up to see if I wanted to go fishing. We had a cooler, so I knew we weren't intending to catch dinner or anything, and since fishing is a very relaxing activity (when your brother isn't teasing you about your inability to catch anything.) For a while we just sat in a canoe with our lines in the lake, facing opposite directions, staying quiet.
Then randomly he asks, "You seeing anyone lately?"
The speed with which I turned red with embarrassment, and laughing nervously, probably indicates how much I now think of him as a father figure. "Wha-ha-hat? N-no, no, no."
"It's been a while, huh? This whole time you've lived with us, I mean, either you're great at hiding it, or you're just not..."
"No, I'm really not. There isn't anyone."
"Is it because you're embarrassed? You don't have to worry about your mother and me, we know you're an adult, and you we won't say anything if you bring a boy home."
"no, dad, stop it, it isn't that."
"Now, Mae on the other hand..."
Conversation goes to a dead stop.
He continues, "You know about that Ed boy, right?" I nod. "It kills me. I've known for years, there's not a lot a dad can do to stop his daughter from getting busy--" this is the moment where I realize how young-at-heart Mr. Pearce is, that he can say something like that and not seem lame, "And it'd be pointless for me to try to force her to stop, because that'd just send her further away. I've learned..."
I know from reading Tori's diaries he's talking about Tori's teenage years, and his negative reaction to her early dating.
He goes on, "I was worried you'd be upset, I was so strict with you, and now with Mae I'm less so... but you know it didn't work with you, I don't have to explain it, do I?"
"No, I get it, you changed your tactics... for what it's worth, I think Ed and Mae are done."
"Is that what she's so upset about? Well... that's life, I guess." He wasn't much hiding his satisfaction about this.
After another pause, he began to reminisce about how he and Tori used to go fishing and do other boyish things when she was young, and how he missed that kind of thing since she became more of a girly girl. I told him that it was maybe not going to stay this way, but I was not lying when I said I enjoyed it.
As we rowed back to the dock -- having caught nothing -- he advised me that it was all right with him if I wanted to stay at home as long as I needed to, but that he figured I must be getting tired of it. I told him that was one way of thinking about it, and that "a change" may be in order.
Later that afternoon, I was reading in the woods when I heard some distant noises -- bangs that sounded like firecrackers. A while later, Dad and Mae came out of the forest. Dad had a rifle.
"Oh my God, was that you two?"
"Yeah, you heard us, did you?" he said. She was beaming. "We walked about a mile and a half out there to try to keep it down."
"Did you shoot something?"
"Nah, it was just target practice," he grinned.
I had no idea he had a gun, or that Mae would even be interested in firing one, but I have to admit I was a little jealous that I wasn't invited. In any case, it appears to have been a fairly genuine father-daughter moment: Mae's spirits seemed raised. That evening, in our tent, we even had girl-talk -- something Mae hates doing (and I rarely intentionally initiate anyway) and she enthusiastically ran down the list of things that bugged her about Ed, from the way he always talks about himself, to his inability to really express himself, to the size of his dick.
Her mood fluctuated for the rest of the weekend, but generally, it was a good time. I felt more at ease with myself than I usually do, and it was just nice to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine on my skin, spending the weekend dressed ruggedly in tank tops and shorts. It was also pretty awesome watching the fireworks over the water.
Anyway, it was a really fun weekend, but now I've gotta go to bed since I have work tomorrow.