In summer you had to book. But the wind was viscous off the ocean so in winter you were often on your own. Tonight there were three tents—or there would be once Layton had his up. He hadn’t left the car-park until late. As he banged in the last of his tent pegs he took in the scene. An athletic couple in high tech gear were already eating. A girl—candy coloured thermals under a t-shirt and shorts—sat outside a wonky tent, writing in a notebook. Layton pulled out his spirit stove and the things he needed for dinner. Then he wandered across to the neighbouring tent. He asked the t-shirt girl if she had a can-opener he could borrow. Her name was Marielle. They talked for a while about the walk and about the town she came from, outside Paris. Later that night he slipped her phone number into the pocket of his pack next to his map and his compass and his Swiss Army Knife—the one with everything a camper could need.

©2010

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