It’s about one year ago, I’m in a cabin in the woods, invited by my friend Patrick to spend the weekend there. This is the third time he’s invited me to stay there, and he’s been insistent about it for years. With each request, my mind imagines a new sinister twist to my arrival, a new dark purpose to the invitation. Patrick wants me there because he wants to kill me in my sleep and feed me to his guests, or Patrick is a master criminal and me going to the cabin is part of his plan to make me the fall guy for one of his schemes. I don’t know what it is about me, but when someone asks something from me I immediately get suspicious, even if they’re just requesting my company. There’s also something about Patrick’s smile, and the way his eyes squint when he grins at you, it’s almost like he’s hiding a crucial piece of information and finds it amusing. Like he just watched you drink someone’s pee without you realizing it. Anyways, I finally arrive, and the events of the trip were transformative in many ways.
The cabin wasn’t the spooky mansion I imagined, but more like a modest little home with cramped bedrooms. There’s a pier above a surprisingly huge lake Patrick kept insisting I stand over in the middle of the night when I first arrived. I thought for sure, “this is it, this is where they throw me in the lake”. It didn’t happen, but you can’t blame me for expecting it. There was also a campfire out front where my German friend Jorn showed me the most perverted scene from a movie I couldn’t finish years ago due to my hatred of Jay Baruchel. We also ate spider-dogs, and chatted which was fun. Was really struck by Patrick’s insistence on getting all the wood himself, and his attentiveness and care for his guests and girlfriend. I thought “This is it, Patrick’s getting ready to become a father, or kills us all, or both”, and I incorrectly assumed that he was already engaged. I was wrong then, but in a spiritual way, I think I was dead on.
The first night in the cabin, as I slept, there was an unbearable hellish heat in my room on one of the coldest days of the year. It was unbelievable how hot it was, I smugly thought that I was right and Patrick’s plan was to burn us all alive, fully prepared to die as long as I could say “I told you so” to no one in particular. The following morning I realized what had happened. My German friend Jorn cranked up the heat to an unfathomable degree that mostly affected my room. Perhaps Jorn’s Germanic roots were reasserting themselves and causing him to inflict pain and suffering on those around him in an unstoppaple genetic urge towards sadism. He apologized for the “mistake”, but I wasn’t fooled. From there though, things went surprisingly smoothly. I argued with people about history, we got food from the groceries, and the more generous among us cooked a meal for the group. We certainly didn’t have the murderous weekend I was expecting.
We even went to the local attractions and climbed a massive tower in the forest. The rest of the group was scared and intimidated by the heights, but I bravely led my friends on. I guess they were scared because they had the totally rational and 100% reasonable fear that if they stood at the top of the tower, someone would run up and shove them off from behind. This is what THEY thought, not me, I was the brave one who never expressed paranoid thoughts or feelings before. Just felt like I should reiterate that.
Eventually the trip had to come to an end, and I kinda felt bad about that. It turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting, and Patrick wasn’t a secret psychopath (as far as I know). He was always a nice guy, but now there’s a new sense of responsibility and a calming nature to him. Also, dare I say it, a sense of fatherhood. Perhaps it’s because he senses that he’s found his soul mate, Maryanne, who he is marrying tomorrow. That sense of suredeness that washes over a person when they’ve found their place in the world is unmistakable. It’s something I saw from him a year ago in that cabin, a few weeks ago at his bachelor party, and surely what I’ll see once again tomorrow at his wedding.
If Patrick has indeed hoodwinked me, deceived me into being unable to see his dark, true nature, I’m glad at least, that he’s found his partner in crime.
Congratulations Patrick and Maryanne!
Quote of the day:
Susan Ross: Can I talk to you for a minute?
George: Yeah, sure, sure.
Susan Ross: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the wedding and all… and I’ve decided to go with the chicken.