The detached trailer sat rusted in our freshly-paved driveway; its purpose somehow obsolete now that neither one of us required so much room for luggage and toiletries. Dad still needed to dig the black and red for-sale-by-owner sign out from under cluttered piles in the garage and tack it to the smudgy back window.
I remember glaring out past the dead insects into the breezy summer air; exhaustingly excited as he would slowly build a fire from the ground up. We were all pleased with the concept of a weekend escape then, even if it ended up giving us migraines most of the time. Those shouts were standard, though, and didn't really sting as bad as the ones that followed, that all three of us remainders couldn't necessarily handle.
My brother, Sidney, was usually the mediator, and also the one who would ride up front with dad, navigating with the crinkled road maps as we headed out into the same rented corner of the wilderness. Mom and I would usually play cards at the complimentary plastic table in the trailer, listening to The Beach Boys and dreaming of the different wonders that the summer had to offer. When we finally arrived it would be an absurd amount of symmetry; all four ends doing their part in order for us to properly sleep under the stars and start fresh the next morning.
All I could do that new dawn as dad hazily drove in his ragged Edison Championship Football shirt and faded blue jeans was pretend to sleep; the radio interrupting certain waves of consciousness as I tired to think of Candace and not Sidney. She had infected me in an improper fashion; the only forward motion I was looking forward to that whole summer being the misplaced joy of hiding away with her hazy complexion and hoping that nobody found us.
Yet the inevitability of tradition, despite the complete breakdown of our unit in the past six months, had taken hold on the one person who was getting too damn good at denial. My father was still convinced that his wife was coming back and that his son hadn't killed himself on New Year's Eve. I was too stoned most of the time to tell the difference; the act of masking the smell ending in May with the hushed echo of my mother's fleeing steps.
It was like they were both still around, lingering for far too long at the next closest rest stop and yet (as if it truly is all the same) still ghostly shadows communicating with younger versions of the Decker family, seen in pre-planned church congregation photographs.
We were all happy to smile once and then sooner than later allowing the priest the proper amount of time to craft a religiously-acceptable amount of words to explain separation and suicide. It made my stomach churn to think about hell and how I would be reunited with all the friendly sinners soon enough. Candace would be seductively candid; Sidney enlightened by the tree of knowledge, and I would know where to start talking about all the things left unsaid.
"Are you going to wake up?" My father coughed as the lukewarm air bounced off of my pores.
"I've been kind of awake this whole time." I replied, reclining my seat forward.
"Well how come you haven't said anything?"
"I stopped talking months ago, haven't you noticed?" I yawned.
"Ya know, we can still do all the same things without the trailer. Not that much is different out here." My father said, instantly changing the subject as he often did.
"Still the same great outdoors... I know. I'm just not sure if I'm in any condition to brave the wilderness."
"What the hell's wrong with you?"
I didn't say anything, but instead let my body and eyelids sink back within the seat. Upon my return to Brier, I would have a job, a girlfriend, and a reason to avoid hiding in my room, acting like I didn't hear my father's instructions as he unscrewed the bolts before realizing that very few household appliances can stand on their own accord, especially the ones that were wedding presents.