Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/912690-Squirrel-Hunting
by Leger~
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #912690
Relief from the boredom.
         I was five months pregnant that winter. Cabin fever was the order of the day. I thought morning sickness was bad but this was even worse. Being stuck in the house day after day, not allowed to go out in the snow and ice, because it was too dangerous to walk. My husband took our only car to work every day so there I sat, staring at the same four walls day after day.
         The weekends weren't much better. He was a big-time hunter and spent most of the daylight hours on the weekend in quest of game. I didn't like to complain, money was short and it helped to put food on our table. I didn't like to prepare the various wild animal stews but they weren't too bad to taste. But I was bored! Bored senseless, I just sat around reading and cooking and getting FAT.
         One Friday night he sat at the dinner table telling me about his plans to go squirrel hunting the next morning. He liked to leave before it got light out and be in the woods as the critters woke up and moved through the trees. He always left early enough to get a hot breakfast before reaching the hunting area. Before I realized what I was saying, I said, "I want to go with you!"
         He gaped at me. "What?" He looked incredulous.
         "I do! I want to go hunting with you." I couldn't sit in the house another day without going crazy.
         He laughed. "You don't really want to go."
         "Yes I do!" A flash of doubt shot through me for a moment but I didn't voice it. Maybe it was the baby trying to kick some sense into me.
         "You'll have to get up early with me." He squinted one eye like he thought I'd sleep right through the morning.
         "You'll see! I'm going to be up and ready when you are." I nodded. I could do this.
         "I'm not stopping for a thousand pee breaks. I'm going hunting and you'll have to keep up." He sneered. He knew I hated peeing in the woods.
         "I'll be fine. Just fine." I patted his knee like I had done this a hundred times.
         Finally he agreed to take me. We slipped into bed and he set the alarm. It went off after what felt like five minutes. OH GOD, it can't be morning already. It was.
         I rolled out of bed and slipped on several layers of maternity clothes to stay warm. He was already dressed and packing his shotgun up by the time I started to get my snowsuit on. Uh oh. Serious problem zipping this suit up. I'm too big, damn it! Not willing to admit defeat and stay home, I shed a layer of clothing and suck the belly in and finally succeed in getting the suit zipped up. Baby and I, nice and cozy. Uh, ok, a little snug and I can't sit without sprawling my legs to make room but at least I've got the suit on.
         We head off in the truck, making our way to the place where he likes to get breakfast.
         "You took so long getting your suit on, I think I'll just get something to go." He slams the door and walks into the restaurant. The first indication should have been his not asking me if I wanted anything. I didn't really catch on until he got back in the truck and pulled a sandwich and a coffee from the bag after we got back on the road. I grabbed the bag and peered in. Empty.
         "Nothing for me?" I couldn't believe he didn't get anything for me.
         "I don't want you having to pee in the woods the minute we get there. All you'll do is whine." Never taking his eyes from the road, he sipped his coffee.
         Grrr...serious pout mode. I am NOT going to cry. Damn these hormones. Pretty soon we pulled off the road and into a small clearing. There didn't appear to be a path or anything leading into the woods. Maybe because it was still dark. I'm sure he knows his way. We get out of the truck and he unpacks his shotgun and prepares to head out. I shine the flashlight around, taking stock of our surroundings.
         He takes the gun from me and starts off into the woods. Right into the brush, I keep pace with him through the crunching leaves and snapping twigs. Finally we come to a pile of dirt out in the middle of the woods. It looks like someone dumped a load of dirt out of a dump truck and left this high pile right in the woods.
         He whispers to me, "We're going to sit right here, when it starts to get light out, we'll hear the squirrels in the treetops. I settle down on the dirt pile. He whispers instructions to me. "Now, sit still and only move your eyes. You don't have to turn your head to see. Just use your peripheral vision."
         I sit there, gawking my eyes around, trying to get used to seeing in the dark. The cold from the ground is starting to seep into my snowsuit. My butt is taking on a serious frozen side. I try not to wiggle. I have no idea how he can sit still for so long just staring up into the trees. I cross and uncross my legs. He puts his hand on my knee to tell me to stop.
         Oh man. Oh man. I have to pee. Augh....I really, really have to pee. The baby is kicking me right in the bladder. There's no ignoring it. I look over at him. He's looking at me and scowling. He knows. I know he knows. I try to wish away the urge. Ok. It's not going away. I really have to pee, damn it. He rolls his eyes and ignores me. I scramble off the dirt pile and try to find a "good spot" to pee. You know, a spot where you can brace on a tree and not piss on your sock. Hey, you think those are easy to find?
         I wriggle out of my snowsuit and leave it hanging on a branch and step over to the pee tree. Ah, sweet relief. Now to jump back into my suit, I'm freezing! Wriggling and yanking, I stuff myself back into my suit. I tromp back over to the dirt pile under his scowling watch. Easing down to sit beside him, I settle back into my old place. He whispered, "Now try to stay quiet!"
         Finally some scritching noises could be heard up in the trees. A squirrel was making its way toward us in the treetops. He handed me the gun as it descended a tree extremely close to us. "Shoot it." Well I don't know...do I really want to do this? I'd shot the gun before so I wasn't afraid. I just wasn't too sure about killing a squirrel. Finally I decided to suck it up and shoot the thing. After all, it was part of the whole experience here. I squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. He took the gun from me and switched the safety off. He handed it back to me. The squirrel watched us both with interest. Finally I zeroed in on the creature and squeezed. POW! The kick from the gunshot slammed into me and threw me off balance. Down the pile of dirt I rolled like a big puffy snowball. Just as I lost my balance, he snatched the gun from me to save it from damage. There I sat sprawled at the bottom of the hill like an oversized down pillow. OOF! I looked over and there he was, examining my kill.
         I got up and waddled over to where he was bent down. He stood up and had the squirrel dangling from his fingertips. "You blasted it to bits." The tone of voice was definitely accusing. "Not much to eat now." Ack. The squirrel dangled like a bloody beanbag. I turned around and hurled. As I stood and tried to regain my dignity, he called over his shoulder, "Do you want to save the tail?" What? What for? "No. That's ok."
         He tossed it off into the woods and turned to head back to the truck.
         "You're done?" It was still early morning.
         "Yeah, it's not much fun with you along, throwing up all over the place." He shrugged.
         Well, excuse me, that thing was all bloody. What did he expect? We piled into the truck and I unzipped the suit down a ways to let the belly bulge out. Baby liked that much better. I dozed off on the way home only to wake up when the truck came to a stop. I looked around expecting to be home. We had stopped at a restaurant. I looked at him in question.
         "Figured you'd be pretty hungry by now. Feel up to eating something?" He looked at me and started laughing. "You look hilarious in that suit." I laughed, jumped out and shuffled inside to get some breakfast.
         Needless to say, I never asked to go along hunting again. I was perfectly content to stay home and get FAT.
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