It wasn’t until he was a junior high school student that I finally got used to my job and was able to take a regular vacation.
“Ren, do you want to go camping during the summer vacation?”
“Camping? With mom?”
“Yeah. I finally took a day off from work. Mom also wanted to go out with Ren for the first time in a long time. I’ve been looking at a few different destinations to choose from.”
I unfolded the campground brochure.
“I heard that this campground has a beautiful lake where you can go boating and fishing. They seem to have great facilities.”
Heh, said Ren, flicking through the pamphlet.
“This is the one where you can try your hand at bushcraft. I heard it’s more like enjoying the outdoors.”
“You mean, starting a fire?”
“Oh yeah, sort of a wild one. The instructor will teach you, so it looks like beginners can handle it.”
He’s an adolescent boy, even though he was still a pre-rebellion boy. I thought he might not want to be with his mother, but Ren was honestly happy to spend time with me.
“‘I’m going! Sounds interesting. I’d love to roast marshmallows over a bonfire and eat them.”
It was really nice to see that sparkling smile for the first time in a long time.
We had a great time together buying the equipment we needed for camping and making plans for this and that.
It was a very fulfilling camp.
Everything I usually don’t do, such as picking up firewood, making a furnace, and tying a rope, was fresh and fun.
“‘Yes! We’re here! I did it!”
Following the instructor’s instructions, Ren looked at me with a smile on his face as he lit the fire.
While the rest of the families were working harmoniously together to make the fire, we were competing to see who could do better and making separate kamados.
“Phew! I lost”
I was deliberately frustrated, but I had another goal in mind. “I have two kamados,” she said. Why don’t I cook something else at the same time?
While Ren and I were making curry, I was secretly preparing roast beef in my kiln. It’s easy to wrap the seasoned meat in aluminium foil and leave it alone after it’s seasoned and browned.
“I’ll make a quick salad, just leave the curry aside.”
Normally he would be reluctant to help, but here he does it with joy.
While Ren prepared the curry, I sliced the roast beef I was preparing and placed it on top of the salad.
My attempts at making it were a huge success.
“What’s this, wow! When did you make it? amazing~!”
Ren’s excitement is all over the place as he ate such an unexpected feast.
I was right to go for something special anyway, so I was excited.
That day’s curry was exceptional for me as well.
After dinner, we roasted marshmallows over the bonfire, as Ren requested.
As I watched the bonfire, I somehow remembered my husband and told him about the old days.
“Oh, by the way, your father and I, this happened.”
The very first time we met.
The fights we had.
The day Ren was born.
Was it the bonfire?
It was a strange and peaceful feeling to reminisce.
When I had just lost him, it was hard to remember.
Maybe I was busy without realizing it, trying to cover up a gaping hole.
Ren also listened quietly, staring at the fire.
“You miss your father, don’t you?
It was a moment when they faced each other honestly.
In the morning, Ren had a somewhat refreshed look on his face. Maybe it was a good memory of the summer vacation.
“Well, let’s head home.”
We were walking back through the forest with our respective bags on our backs.
“Mom, I, uh, I made a promise to father.”
“Yeah. I didn’t get a chance to say it before. You know…”
I didn’t get to hear his next words.
Suddenly, the air around us changed.
The strange air gave me goosebumps.
The chirping of the birds and the sound of the murmuring of the river that had been heard until then disappeared, and a black hole that could accommodate one person suddenly appeared.
Ren’s body jerked and his upper body disappeared into the darkness.
I desperately reached out and grabbed Ren’s arm.
And so we were swallowed up by the darkness together.