The house in Columbus, Ohio was a big three-bedroom-turned-four, with the family room turned into my host Scott's bedroom, and the living room right next to it. Scott and his housemates (all excepting one) are very into international travel, and places like Germany, France and Russia; all three of them have been to Germany, it sounded like, and Dave plans on going back someday.
Dave and I made up some grilled cheese sandwiches for the three of us for supper. I turned on "The Crow," because it's not like there was anything else to watch, and I like the gothicness of the film. Housemate Geoff got home around 11, and everyone else went to bed a half hour later.
Geoff and I discussed religion. We steadily moved onto other topics as they arose. I got him to walk in the woods with me. We climbed around a playground while we talked. Then we saw a guy standing in the parking lot. "Drug deal," Geoff said as he followed me down a small path. "I've never been on this path," he said. Spiderwebs slid across my face and hands as we went. I was still wearing the brown skirt and button-down top I'd worn to church that morning. We told things to freak each other out. Are there other people out here, hiding in the dark? Will they come after us? When we got to the bridge we turned and found the main path, which took us a little further. There was something ahead, and although the moon was bright, it was too dark to see what it was. My brain scrambled for an explanation: deer? Coyote? Not in these woods-which-aren't-real-woods. Then it got taller and walked toward us, and we saw that it was a man. Later, Geoff said, "I think he crouched down," And that's why we'd been so confused. We saw Canadian Geese and waddling ducklings.
Geoff told me about a climbing wall that the town had built where people could climb for free. We went there. The wall is trying to impersonate a rock with its groovy surface and little ledges, but it's also got colored handholds and permanent pulleys at the top for ropes. It started raining a little, but not too bad, while we were climbing. I was on our second route when the rain started coming down hard. I was halfway up. The side that looked easiest--on the right--was mostly fake ledges and "natural" fingerholds--but it wasn't real rock, and the texture was all off, the surface too slippery to put my weight on. A stream of water ran over this ledge and fell down into a groove of rocks below, where it had already formed a puddle. Rain wetted my hair and blinded my eyes. I swung over to the left and finished the climb to the top with the handholds.
We were out on the deck with a couple of Geoff's friends, and he played his guitar a little while the rest of them hung out. Just then, I saw a little squirrel trying to climb down from the drainage pipe along the overhanging roof.
"Is that the squirrel?" I asked.
"That's her," someone said.
They'd found the baby squirrel out on the sidewalk and brought her home to nurse back to health. She visited every day. Her body was smaller than a grapefruit, her tail bushy as a lufa. she let us hold her and feed her nutella, and she would crawl all around our bodies if we let her--over your shoulder and down your back.