The Lonely Cricket

Dearest Rachel –

It seems that there is a cricket that lives inside the workers’ cabin. I say that because it’s too loud to be coming from outside when I’m sitting in the cabin, trying to stay out of everybody’s way. And while one might think that the chirping is too much to be coming from just one cricket, I can only assume that it is just the one; if I understand the purpose of the noise, it’s to attract a mate. Were there a second cricket, presumably they’d find each other in such a relatively confined space. Since it goes on, I can only assume he hasn’t found anyone (although for all I know, it may be two separate male crickets, neither of which is able to find anyone to their liking).

This may sound like I’m complaining about the noise – I’m not, really. The sound of crickets is an integral part of the camping experience, especially at night. They belong here.

I can’t say the same for myself, however. If I’m not at my assigned post, doing my assigned task, I’m in a bit of a loss. It’s not so much a question of being bored, as simply being out of place. There’s not a whole lot here that I can partake in, considering that I’m not a guest, and therefore not supposed to be. I can hear the gunfire at the shooting range, and see folks cavorting on the lakefront, but those are not for ‘the help’ when the guests are there – not that they particularly interest me, but that’s beside the point.

Even in places where it would be no harm, and I would get in no one’s way, like the game room here, it’s completely pointless – there’s not a single game here that doesn’t require at least two people. So there’s nothing here for me to do – although I know you’d be pressing me into one game or another in short order. And I’d more than willingly follow along with you.

You might think that the canteen would have something that would interest me – especially after having skipped breakfast. But I find myself unable to ask for anything as long as there’s a more legitimate customer, and while the place isn’t crowded, there’s always at least one person trying on gear or ordering some ice cream. Even the lack of a credit card reader (which is down for some reason or another, possibly concurrent with the wi-fi), doesn’t deter the customers, which keeps me away from the counter long enough to decide I really don’t want anything from there, after all.

Even as I’m making my way from there to… wherever it is I’m going, I find myself compelled to step off the road as a guest or two approaches. Apart from responding to any possible greeting, I can’t seem to help apologizing for being in their way. Somehow, I’ve gotten it into my head that I shouldn’t be there – or at least, I shouldn’t be seen – and I need to apologize for this breach of etiquette on my part. It’s crazy, I know, but that’s how it is.

Crazier still is the fact that I eventually find myself at the top of that hill, yet again. I really shouldn’t be here, but what else is there for me to do?

…other than to take a picture; it may be only my imagination, but from where I’m standing (which is approximately where I stood back then, it seems that patch of bare ground marks the place where you lay as the EMT-trained staffers attempted to revive you. Apparently, even the grass won’t grow there as a mark of respect.

I can’t bring myself to stay here for very long (which is odd when you think about it, since I stood there for what seemed like at least half an hour in that bitter cold), and I wander back to the dining hall, nearly an hour before my services are required of me. I don’t know what else to do with myself when I don’t have an assignment.

I wonder if this is how it feels to live life without a purpose; for my part, I can barely stand a couple hours of it. An entire lifetime like this would drive me mad.

***

I am of the understanding that, as the summer wears on and moves onto full, the chirps of the cricket slow down. You might think that, as he realizes he’s running out of time to find himself a mate before he is claimed by time and season, that they would speed up, reflecting the urgency of his need. But no; as he gets older and colder, he tires out, and can no longer keep up the pace he needs to call out to that special someone. If he doesn’t die first, he eventually gives up, and silence reigns before the autumn ends.

I’m starting to understand that cricket, honey. There never seems to be a good time to chirp, and pretty soon, it’s going to get cold.

Keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’ll need it, especially if I don’t take advantage of it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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