Scene VI:
Some Ideas About the Camping Experience Need Looking at Again

[Add setting]

NARRATOR: Our guide abandoned us on Lake Nipissing and we wandered for an unknown time in wilderness. It was during this while that I married Evangeline. Thank God I did so when no one was looking or I would have been in deep trouble with those other women who wanted me, or men who wanted Evangeline. We all wanted something.

Warm clothing, food, water, dry matches—what they call the essentials. We had long fights over these essentials, then we didn’t have them and thus had nothing to fight over, unless we decided to fight merely to make things interesting. Which we did, and always at sundown. I can’t recall how many people I had to fight to retain Evangeline or how often I had to fight her, which I did initially only to get attention. Some of us died because of the attention we were not getting.

It was into the third month before Evangeline first spoke to me. This was during a humid spell when none of us were talking to each other. A suspicion existed that our guide had not truly abandoned us, that someone in our group had poisoned our guide because she refused to marry them. She was a fine beauty, I will say that, and we all wanted to stay in her good graces so she wouldn’t hit us and would share her jelly and let us ride the mules across those trails in and around Lake Nipissing. Frankly, I didn’t care for Lake Nipissing. At night wild animals shrieked. Then the snows. My thumbs icy, I wondered why my parents had signed me up for such hardship.

EVANGELINE: Evangeline swore she loved me. She swore marrying me ranked up there among the smartest ideas she ever had. I asked her what was another smart thing you did. For a second or two I thought she was going to come up with something. She didn’t, so we went on with our kissing. We went on with it all night and in the morning the campfire was out, everyone was gone, and we were more lost than ever -- in and around dreaded Lake Nipissing. If such is where we were. You’re lost, it is not as though you can put your finger on a map.

BONNIE: These days, when our child (Bonnie) asks about our early days, was it artificial insemination or what that produced her, Evangeline and I don’t say much.

NARRATOR: We don’t say much generally, and – generally – Bonnie knows when to hold her tongue. We keep her close by. No camping for that girl.

manicule

Read on: Act II, Scene VII »
Go back: Table of Contents »

The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.