[July 3, 1986]

Dani and I just embarked on our road trip to Florida. We're going to visit her mom for a couple of weeks. She's trying not to show it, but I can tell she's excited. We turned her old VW bus into a camper, complete with a couple old couches from her storage unit that double as our beds. There's not that much to see on the highway, but I don't really mind. We talk about anything and everything, and when conversation lags I just enjoy the silence. I simply like being around her, and I just hope that she feels the same way.

[July 4, 1986]

We parked in a big, open field and shot off fireworks all day. She tried to shoot me with a roman candle, and out of utter panic I knocked it out of her hand before it could go off in my direction. It almost set the entire field on fire. She told me to hold on, and then she went back to the van and pulled out an old mortar she said she'd found in her garage. I think I can safely say that it was the loudest boom and the biggest explosion I've ever experienced up close.

We ran with sparklers and had a moonlight picnic while listening to the distant cracks and pops of the firework displays surrounding us. She caught me staring at her, but I couldn't help it. The way the moonlight and the ever-shifting colors in the sky touched and mixed on her skin, perfectly capturing her wonderstruck expression... it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. She laughed at me when she noticed. "J, you're staring," yeah, I am. It's not my fault that you're so pretty.

I'm trying not to wake her as I write. She fell asleep on my lap.

I don't ever want to leave.

[July 5, 1986]

We're on the road again. It's not quiet this time; we've had the radio on for a good portion of three hours and it's like we've known every song. There's something peaceful about being on the road with the person that you love. Even if it's a seemingly endless strip of pavement as you go, as long as you have your favorite songs and their company it could go on forever. You would gladly let it go on forever.

I haven't told her yet, but I love her. I really do. I just hope that she loves me, too.

[July 6, 1986]

Dani insisted on taking a "detour" through the mountains. She promised it was shorter to go this way. How it could be shorter to go through the mountains is beyond me, but she was very persistent and I didn't want to argue with her because of how excited she was about this. At least there's more interesting scenery than rocks road signs, and other cars. I'm seeing trees, and even some animals. Dani actually almost hit a deer that darted across the road earlier, honestly I don't know how she managed to stop this huge thing so quickly.

I wish I had my camera. She told me not to bring it because it might get broken at her mom's; I guess the cat likes to knock things off of shelves. I think I would have risked it. That moment back in the field on Independence Day--I never want to forget how that looked. I never want to forget any of these moments with her.

[July 7, 1986]

"I don't need the map," she says.

"I know where I'm going," she says.

"I don't need directions," she says.

"Shut up, Jamie," she says.

Shortcut. Sure.

[July 9, 1986]

We still haven't gotten our way back onto the interstate. The roads were too twisty, and there were so many forks in the road that it's become impossible to get our bearings. I tried using the map, but it's useless all the way out here.

I'm starting to worry we won't be able to get out of here. It's like the forest is closing in on us, and she doesn't know I'm claustrophobic but she'll find out soon. I want my camera. Taking pictures has always calmed me down. Journaling like this is helping a little, but it's hard to calm down when Dani's either pacing or criticizing me for writing. I miss my family. I miss people. I want to go home.

[July 14, 1986]

We ran out of food, and we're running out of fresh water. We abandoned the van when it ran out of gas and we're now carrying our packs with us. We're trying to walk our way to civilization, or at least somewhere populated.

I don't care. I just want to make it out of here.

[July 16, 1986]

We found a cabin. We think it's an old hunting place. There's guns and deer heads all mounted on the walls. There's a couple of beds that aren't totally comfortable, but they're much better than the "soft rocks" we had been sleeping on (Dani's attempt at humor in a hopeless situation). At least we have a roof over our heads now. The roof may leak, let in drafts, and house a small family of mice, but it's a roof. The beds also might be lumpy, uncomfortable, and I think also house a small family of mice, they're beds.

We're gonna use the knives and guns here to go hunting tomorrow. Dani says she's been a few times with her dad.

[July 17, 1986]

We went hunting and managed to get exactly one deer and one duck. It's not much, but it's more food than we've had for awhile. That's all that really matters I guess.

[July 19, 1986]

Dani's been getting distant. She won't look me straight in the eyes. She was staring at the table this morning while I was cooking. I'm worried about her. I'm worried about us.

[August 20, 1986]

We've made a place for ourselves here. I found an old journal of the person who used to own this place. His last entry was forty years ago, so I'm pretty sure we're safe.

Most of the time I stay to the cabin and tidy up. Sometimes I go hunting with Dani. If I'm not doing that and I have some free time, I read some of the old books here. She does the hard work and I do the cleaning. Typical, sure, but it's a surviving.

I don't have that much time to journal lately. I'm always doing something--tidying the house, running down to the nearby stream for water, cleaning game Dani brought home, reorganizing books--I almost never have any free time.

Everything is different from how it used to be.

[October 18, 1986]

It's starting to get colder. Dani started planning ahead and chopped firewood last month. We're not using it yet but I expect that we'll need to soon.

We both have noticed helicopters circling overhead. We think they might be searching for us--, Dani noted the other day that we've been missing for four months. But the forest here is so dense, they probably wouldn't be able to see us no matter how hard we tried. I think we've both come to terms with the fact that this is our life now.

I told Dani I love her for the first time today. She said she loves me too. I cried.

[November 28, 1986]

It got so cold last night I thought that we would freeze. We were huddled together so tightly on the bed that I was sure one of us was going to pop a lung.

Dani bundled up and went hunting again. I'm tidying up the cabin like I always do. Our lives have become uneventful, but comfortable. I used to be a photographer and an art student. She managed an old bookshop uptown that just so happened to have a public darkroom. She said she only put it in because she thought it'd bring in a new demographic. Now she says she had no idea it'd bring in the love of her life.

[December 12, 1986]

A snowstorm hit. We're snowed in. Luckily, we have enough food to last us for awhile. The fire is crackling cheerfully and the little cabin is filled with its light and warmth. Dani's been sleeping a lot lately, but I let her. She's been tireless the past few months, always doing some kind of physical labor to keep us floating. She deserves her rest. I love her too much to make her continue.

I love her.

[December 30, 1986]

We are running out of food. Dani didn't preserve it properly and half of it went bad. Not only that, but we're also running out of water! The stream froze up completely and we have not had any water in three days. She says it's all my fault. All we've done is fight for a week straight. She made me sleep in the other bed last night.

She's dead wrong if she thinks I'm sharing my portion of the food now.

I want to go home.

[January 9, 1987]

We're completely out of food. I am so. Hungry. Dani got sick from eating the bad food, and she's getting weaker and weaker by the day. I can't support her much longer.

[January 12, 1987]

I'm starving. Dani isn't better. I can't handle this much longer.

[January 15, 1987]

Blood is hard to wash off of wooden floors

Blood is hard to scrub out from underneath fingernails

[January 18, 1987]

Every time I take a bite I just get hungrier and hungrier. It never ends. Nothing can satisfy it. I feel like I'm starving.

[January 26, 1987]

I can't even look at myself in the mirror. I don't even look the same. I miss Dani but I don't regret it.

[February 9, 1987]

I'm different now.

[February 28, 1987]

I can never go back.

Written by ReneeC67
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