by Sally Perkins – It was the Spring of 2000 and Isaac and I were hiking the woods behind my parents’ new home in the countryside. The rain had made the deep ravines muddy and slippery so naturally we were holding hands – staying very close for balance, you know.
I had my new, pink wellies on and he had on these manly (unnecessary) hiking boots with so much shoelace he had it tucked in at his ankle. We had only gone out for dinner once and I had made it an overly formal affair. So the next time we went out, Isaac decided, we’d go on a super casual outdoorsy date. So hiking, with mud and nasty bur plants waiting to eat your shins off.
Hear Me Roar!
I took him to a little cave made of tree roots and eroded soil I had found on my first trip down there. I tried to be cool and crawled on my hands and feet to get inside. My pink wellies suffered for it. He laughed, though. A few steps ahead my daring must-show-off-be-a-woman-for-this-man instincts kicked in again. “I’m going to climb that ravine wall,” I said, a stupid smirk on my face. Isaac’s mouth dropped and he surveyed the muddy slide. “Ok,” he said slowly. His apprehension put a fire in my wellies and I ran at the wall. “I AM WOMAN!” I screamed in my head. My launch was anticlimactic as my big wellies sunk in to the mud up to my knees, sucking them off my feet as I tried to pull out.
The Fall of Man
“Help?” I laughed nervously.
“Nah, I don’t want to get in the way of the great warrior woman.” He smiled ever so charmingly and put his hands in his pockets.
All right, fine. Forgetting to remain clean, I shoved my hands into the mud and used them as leverage to push myself out. I felt my knee pop. It wasn’t worth it. With heavy heart, I pointed my toes, and lifted my feet out of the beautiful, pink, wellies.
My pride cold and muddy, Isaac offered his hand to me now. “Shall we leave stage left?” he smirked. If he wasn’t so darn cute…
The Sweet Revenge
The walk back was slow and painful for me. Humbling, most likely as well. I had to let a silence fall, something I didn’t like in a date. But he was smiling, thinking of me all muddy, cradling my wounded pride. I thought about how hard he had tried to be so tough and smug as I dodged giant burs (my eyes were obviously trained on the ground). We took some time to plan our next hiking trip when we ran into a winding creek. Once back in the open fields where we could see my parents’ house, I sighed with relief, crunching the soft grass with my toes.
“What are those!” Isaac screamed in an octave I could never hope to reach.
Clinging to his miles of shoelace were dozens of giant dried out burs, their spines looking like little claws. “Those are a hundred reminders to give your woman a hand next time, young man,” I laughed. We named the ravine Wellies’ Fate in remembrance of the reason Isaac owed me a nice new pair of shoes and a much better date in the woods next time.