The Getaway

Written in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt


American Romance Happy

Jake and Jane Barnett’s Jeep rolled into the campsite just half an hour before sunset. The day before was a joyous occasion for the happy couple. They held a civil wedding ceremony for their non-LDS friends before their Sealing, and then they were Sealed at the Temple—for time and all eternity. It was, as the cliché goes, the first day of the rest of their lives. Most couples chose to go backpacking through Europe, spend a couple of weeks somewhere romantic like Paris or London. Other couples opt for the Mediterranean or tropical climates—beachy places like Santorini, Fiji, Palawan, Boracay, the Maldives, or the Bahamas for that Blue Lagoon aesthetic.

Jake and Jane, however, were different. They were the outdoorsy type. Rock climbing, spelunking, scuba diving, sleeping under the stars, in a tent, an RV, a tiny Volkswagen campervan, or a cabin in the woods… Jake once even slept on a mattress in the bed of his old pickup truck out in the deserts of Utah. It was a glorious experience, and in his own words, it was like God smiling down at him through the brilliantly visible swath of the Milky Way in the skies above. The couple shared a love of nature and it was a private joke between them that maybe they both had Elven blood in their veins.

“Ah, freedom!” Jake said as he stepped out of the Jeep and stood on a ledge overlooking the trees below. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, savoring the fresh scent of pine. Now he knew what Stuart K. Hine must’ve felt as he penned his masterpiece How Great Thou Art.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur and see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee…

Suddenly, Jane’s voice broke through his thoughts.

“Jake!” Jane called out. “Can you help me set up the tent?”

“Coming!” Jake said, turning his attention to his young wife. He ran to where she was and set up the tent. “I’ve got this. I’ve got you. Go start dinner, I’ll handle this.”

“Thanks, Babe,” Jane said, giving Jake a peck on the cheeks. “The fire should be easy-peasy.” 

Jake started by laying a tarp on the ground. They both knew the importance of having a barrier between them and the cold hard ground. Tent material wasn’t thick enough and a tarp was a camper’s best friend. After checking to see if all of the tent’s components were accounted for, he laid out the tent on top of the tarp and started assembling it, pole by single pole. Before setting up the poles, however, Jake made sure to orient the tent facing east. He and Jane wanted to wake up to Utah’s beautiful sunrise, tent flap open to soak in the view. After that was done, Jake inserted the poles into the eyelets at the corners of the tent and raised it. Presto! Just like magic. The last step was to secure the tent to the ground by driving the stakes to hold it in place.

“I could watch you do that for hours,” Jane said with a wistful sigh, a dreamy smile on her face, and a twinkle in her eyes.

“Watch dinner, not me,” Jake said with a laugh. “Also, this wouldn’t take me hours. See? I had it up in minutes. Just kidding! I know what you mean. I could watch you cook for hours. And start a fire for hours. Where’d you learn to build a fire?”

“You have three guesses,” Jane answered.

“Girl Scouts?” Jake guessed.

“Got it in one,” Jane said with a laugh.

Jake took a deep breath and smiled. The smells of shrimp, bacon, smoky sausages, buttery corn, and zesty lemon assaulted his senses and his eyes lit up like the Beacons of Minas Tirith.

“Mmmmmm…” Jake said. “That smells so good! What is that?” Jake asked.

“It’s a recipe called Shrimp Boil Foil Packets,” Jane answered. “I saw it the other day on Pinterest and just had to save it.”

“Look at you settling into your role quite nicely, Mrs. Barnett,” Jake teased and they both laughed.

“Shut up!” Jane said in mock offense, swatting Jake’s arm playfully.

“What’s for dessert, by the way?” Jake asked.

“For dessert, we’re making banana boat s’mores,” Jane replied with a smile.

“Can’t wait,” Jake said.

“Me either,” Jane said.

After their banter ended, Jake turned his attention back to the task at hand. He still had to set up their sleeping gear inside the tent. Once that was done, Jake emerged from the tent and admired the Utah sunset with Jane snuggled close at his side.

“I love you, Luthien Tinúviel,” Jake said, kissing the top of Jane’s head.

“I love you,” Jane responded. “My Beren… My handsome Beren.”

That evening, while they ate dinner, they talked of different things. They reminisced about their days at BYU and how Jane initially thought Jake was a creepy weirdo. They talked about Jane’s childhood. She was a typical goody two shoes growing up—never broke any rules, came home when it was time to come home, obeyed her parents’ every word, and never did anything bad. They talked about Jake’s own childhood and how he was Jane’s total opposite. Jake was a bit of a rebel and hated being brought up in a very strict, observant family. He was the typical black sheep—until he came to BYU that is (albeit reluctantly). They talked about the future and how they envisioned it. They laughed, teased, and cracked jokes until their stomachs ached and their eyes brimmed over with tears. And then, as promised, for dessert, they made little banana boat s’mores. They goofed around some more while eating their s’mores, and then Jake picked up his guitar. He started strumming and humming—Jane’s favorite song.

“Tonight, you’re mine completely,” Jane sang. “You give your love so sweetly. Tonight, the light of love is in your eyes. But will you love me tomorrow?”

“Is this a lasting treasure?” Jake sang along. “Or just a moment’s pleasure? Can I believe the magic of your sighs? Will you still love me tomorrow?”

They sang more songs, including Scott Alan’s Always/Goodnight medley, Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, and so much more. Eventually, the time came for them to put out the campfire and get some sleep. They got no sleep that night, however. Their tent and the surrounding forest was filled with their sounds of love and joy until morning.

April 24, 2022 05:22

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.