I place one foot in front of the other on the rail ahead of me. My balance is questionable, even when I’m feeling my best, but Kara’s fingers in mine make me feel like I could keep going forever.
The sun has gone behind the highest branches of the maples and oaks that line the railroad tracks and a slight breeze carries the sounds of town to us.
“You okay?” Kara knows how quickly I can reach my limit. Her awareness—constant but not overbearing—is just one of the reasons she’s my favorite person. I never feel like she’s judging me for what I can handle.
“I’m good.” I squeeze her fingertips. “See any good spots?”
“Not really. It’s too dry here by the tracks. Mushrooms like damp, dark places.”
“You wanna try further into the tree line?” I know she’s adjusting her normal foraging patterns for me. “I can take it.”
“Well …” She’s wavering.
“Seriously. I’m ready. Bring it on.” I flex the arm that isn’t connected to her through entwined fingers. “I brought the big guns!”
“You’re such a dork,” Kara tells me, not for the first time. “If you’re sure, we could check this one spot I found the other day.”
“Lead on, my captain!”
She walks into the woods near a stand of birch trees. I adore the confidence and joy on her face when she’s trekking through the woods. I follow behind her, stepping gingerly, calculating how many spoons I would use up with this adventure.
All of them, I suspect, but it’s worth it.
I’m sure I’ll have the energy to shower tomorrow.
*7/24/17 prompt: the future soon, mushrooms, unsettled feelings