From the entrance of the cave, the storm looked somewhat beautiful. Rain covered every single plant in the forest, as well as every rock, leaf and animal, if they hadn’t found a proper place to wait out the storm. Tony and Gabe had found the cave just in time and had been there for at least three hours. In that time, the rain hadn’t stop falling and it didn’t really seem like it would stop anytime soon. It was as if it was the perpetual state of that corner of the world. Both men decided to take out their sleeping bags and rest, instead of waiting for something that might not come.
The next morning, sure enough, the storm was still going strong. According to what they had read before going into the forest, it wasn’t that uncommon to have storms that lasted for several hours. According to one book, the record was five straight nights of rainfall. It was simply insane but that’s how nature worked in that place. So both guys decided it was best for them to wait. They didn’t fear the rain or anything like that. The problem was that they could get lost and that was a real problem that they wouldn’t be able to solve easily.
They had brought food, and sleeping bags and several other things but they had forgotten a simple compass. Besides, their satellite map on their phones didn’t work there, as the forest had no Wi-Fi. So, in a way, they were trapped by rain. The physical map they had borrowed from the park ranger’s office was the only thing they could use to navigate the forest but there was no real way of doing that because the map was not precisely up to date. According to the bottom left corner of it, the design was copied from another map dating from the 1980’s.
It was best to sit down on their sleeping bags and have a couple of energy bars, which would help them stay alert. Tony and Gabe rarely talked to one another. They were not really friends but they weren’t enemies or anything like that. The reason they were together was that they had originally plan to come with several other friends. The original group had around fifteen people but then the park made them cut off some of them because the limit was eight people. Then some of the ones remaining dropped out and only Tony and Gabe remained.
They had decided to go together because they didn’t want to miss the opportunity of entering the forest. The government had announced recently that it was going to be closed indefinitely as the passage of people through the park was apparently damaging it. Tony and Gabe were practically the last two people to ever set foot there in, probably, many years. But they were so mad at their friends for not going that they hadn’t really thought about that amazing fact. It was practically a historical event in which they had been caught up.
The second night in the cave, they decided to play a card game. It was one of the simple ones, nothing too fancy. It was Tony that had proposed to play, as he was getting crazy by just waiting to see if the weather got a little bit better. Gabe was also very disappointed in that trip. He had come because he really wanted to get away from people and things after he had finished the process of divorcing the woman that was supposedly the love of her life. He had found her having sex with another woman in their brand new apartment.
Tony’s reasons were kind of similar. He wanted to get away from his family. He was an adult that still lived with his parents and had serious money problems. The trip to the forest had been his idea and he had designed it to be a perfect getaway with his best friends. That hadn’t come to pass and it made him rethink his relationship with them because he didn’t really knew anymore if they were really his friends or if they were only close to him because he was good with other people’s problems but no one helped him with his problems.
The card game went on for several hours, until they had to drop it because one of their flashlights turned itself off. Apparently, the battery had run out. After all, it had been on for several hours a day, being in a cave and everything. They decided to sleep instead but they just couldn’t so they started talking. They first did so about the rain and the forest and how cool the first few days had been, taking pictures of animals and beautiful plants and discovering a whole world they had never even imagined that it existed so close to their homes.
However, the conversation migrated soon to their problems. First, Gabe got to tell Tony every single detail about his divorce. He even told him exactly what he found his wife and now girlfriend doing in his own bed. Gabe’s voice sounded bitter, so Tony tried to make him fell better by reminding him that it was for the best that he had found out the truth. Gabe didn’t know if that was correct because he had spent a large amount of money in that marriage, from the ring to a holiday he had planned for their first anniversary.
Tony insisted: at least he hadn’t lived decades a decades in a lie. He had found out in the first year and that meant he had saved himself years of suffering and lies. That was something most people would want to have in a relationship. Most never get to know any of the truths that lie beneath their relationships until it is too late. Gabe began to realize Tony was right and really assimilated the fact that he hadn’t done anything wrong and that he was still young, if he ever wanted to marry again.
Then, they moved on to Tony. Gabe asked him, rather bluntly, why did he still live with his parents? It was a difficult question to answer but it all came from the fact that Tony didn’t really have any real skills. He had gone to school, he had gotten diplomas and so on, but no company seemed to be interested in hiring him. As he explained to Gabe, companies were not looking for people that had a vast amount of knowledge. They were looking for people to exploit and someone that knew his worth wasn’t going to accept anything like that.
Besides that, he found jobs that paid him a little money at a time but never enough to actually save anything. In his parents house, he had to pay the electricity bill and had to help with the groceries too, so there was no way he could ever get his own place that why. He lived with his parents not because it was the right thing to do but because it was the safest thing to do. He thought going out into the world blindly was not a solution to anything. Going out from home and then failing fantastically, only to come back, wasn’t really something he looked forward to.
Gabe told him that, at some point, he was going to have to risk it, in one way or the other. Maybe he did need to take a risk like leaving home for working away from his parents. Or maybe he needed to let a company exploit him, letting them know that what he wanted was experience and that they could pay him whatever they paid others in order to be able to work. Tony was not very convinced by Gabe’s advice but then he said that Tony could also do his own thing; create his own business with all his knowledge at the center of it.
That seemed to get to Tony because he was silent for a moment and then confessed to Gabe that he had always imagined having some sort of library, where he could help all sorts of people with all sorts of books. It could be in an old house, with a small cafeteria and a certain ambiance that would make it attractive to every single person around. He would offer all kinds of titles, from novels to poetry, from cooking books to big ones filled with artistic pictures and paintings. He knew it was hard and that his dream required a lot of money.
Gabe told him he liked his idea. Furthermore, out of nowhere, he told Tony he would love to help to get that dream become a reality. After all, he had gotten some money out of the divorce and he had a stable job that gave him more than enough to live comfortably. He could afford investing those earning from his failed marriage. Tony was overwhelmed. They both sat on their sleeping bags and, in silence and with only the rain as witness, they hugged and agreed to become partners in a new adventure.