Margo met Harry at the Appalachian Mountain Club, a sport-lovers organization in Boston. He was athletic looking with a nice smile. He asked her to go on a short hike with him in New Hampshire. She agreed to drive separately and meet him at the trailhead since she had a dinner to attend that evening.
Margo hadn’t bothered with her hiking boots since this was a first date, just a short hike, and she didn’t want to come off as a die-hard hiker. She wore her tennis shoes instead. She had her 10 ounce bottle of water with her and no snacks.
Harry had described an easy loop hike, and an hour in, she wondered when they would be looping back. She kept going, though, since the conversation was lively, and it was beautiful in the woods.
Two hours in, she started to wonder when they would be turning back toward the trail head. The third hour in, her stomach grumbling and her energy level dropping, she asked when they’d be back at the cars.
“We’re about halfway,” Harry said.
Her water bottle was long empty, and her watch told her she was going to be late for her dinner. A blister was forming on the fourth toe of her right foot, and she was famished.
Suddenly the good-looking almost stranger seemed a little bit dangerous and a whole lot selfish. She had told him about her dinner. He didn’t seem to give a hoot.
Harry had chosen to take a longer loop. He had decided without her. He had no plans that evening and had no empathy for her plans.
It was all Margo could do to keep from scolding him. But she didn’t really know him, and they were alone in the woods. She didn’t know if he had a temper or how he would react to her anger. She kept quiet and pushed on, each step more painful than the last as her new blister rubbed against her tennis shoe.
I should’ve worn sock liners. I am so thirsty.
Harry remained cheerful and clueless. Margo got back to Boston so late for her dinner that she had to go in her stinky hiking clothes.
When Harry called Margo the following week for a second date, he was surprised when she turned him down.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Margo would’ve given Harry another chance, she would’ve discovered that he was a free spirit with ADHD, who didn’t follow anyone’s agenda but his own. He preferred the road not taken, and Margo would decide to go with the flow and become more of a free spirit. They would buy a Volkswagen bus, paint it with paisley designs in red, yellow, and blue, and drive it to every national and state park in Greater New England. After five years she would leave Harry for a CPA who hated the outdoors but liked structure in his life, much as she did.