Even though we expected it, we were not prepared for the Wisconsin Dells to be completely abandoned on that brisk, sub-zero afternoon in January. As we drove into the town; sleet and snow shrouding our car in a frozen jacket, we marveled at the abandoned candy shops and shivering roller coasters, creaking under the weight of the packed ice, coaster cars lying dormant on the tracks.
You asked me where we should stay. I told you I didn’t know, that we had many available options, and that you should choose. You told me you couldn’t decide; that perhaps this is something we should have thought about in advance, and that now that we were here, all of our choices seemed so enticing that you couldn’t possibly pick. You were getting overwhelmed, and I was exhausted from the drive, so we pulled into the parking lot of a hotel that looked like a giant log cabin. You said it reminded you of Walden, and that it had been so long since you had read it. I made a mental note to look for a copy.
We were surprised at how large the parking lots were, since there were no cars to crowd them. You said it reminded you of an open plain, and I replied that plains were not generally made of concrete, but that I agreed.
I held your hand as we walked towards the door. You proposed we leave our things in the car for now, because; you said, opening your hands into a rainbow; luggage carts. I laughed and called you cute. You blushed, and I shivered in the cold. Shall we? I asked. We shall, You replied. I kissed you on the cheek with clammy lips.
We tugged on the door together, prying it from the ice. When it came loose, we stepped inside, basking in the warmth. I marveled at the fact that there was still power. You told me not to dwell on it. Your cheeks were flushed red and you were shaking, but you came alive when you spotted the luggage carts off to the side. You flew to them, skipping lightly across the sullied velvet carpeting. I rang the receptionist’s bell, and you giggled at me as you pulled the cart towards the door to retrieve our things.
We picked a suite on the very top floor, even though there were only four. Our room had a fireplace, which we quickly lit. The balcony had a hot tub, but it had no water, so we took a bucket from under the sink and took turns filling it with water from the bathroom faucet. We were disappointed when cold January air cooled the water faster than the tub could warm it. We placed the lid back on and left it alone.
You were disappointed. I was disappointed but didn’t want to let you down. Maybe the indoor waterpark has a hot tub? I suggested. You gasped, forgetting about the indoor water park. Excitedly, you put on your swim suit and asked if we should bring towels. I told you that the waterpark should have them available, but you brought two, just in case. I snuffed out the fireplace and we left the room.
To our delight, the indoor waterpark had a hot tub. I checked the temperature and told you it was hot. You jumped in, splashing me with water. I complained, and you splashed me again. I pulled into a cannonball and jumped in next to you. You scolded me and expressed your disinterest in filling up another hot tub with buckets. I called you a hypocrite. The jets, pulsing from below us, felt nice against my skin, and I let myself relax.
You put your hands on my shoulders. You had a crazy idea, you told me. You said we should take our swimsuits off. After all, who would see? I glanced around nervously and said that maybe it wasn’t a good idea. After all, weren’t there cameras? You laughed, asking who exactly was looking at those cameras. I felt embarrassed but admired your confidence as you stripped in the hot tub. I followed suit. I held you quietly in the water until you started to cry. I pulled you in closer but said nothing.
When the water started to make our skin wrinkly, we got out of the hot tub. You weren’t crying anymore, but you seemed distant. Let’s do something even crazier, I said. You looked at me but said nothing. Let’s go down the waterslides naked, I said. After all, who would see? Let’s do it, you replied. I told you I loved you and you blushed. I kissed you on the cheek with wet lips.
At the end of the world, you don’t need to wait in line to ride waterslides. We made our way to the top, and you grinned at me. Hey, you said. There’s no lifeguard, do you know what that means? You asked. What? I asked. You sat down in the water racing past your legs. You grabbed my hand and pulled me down to your level. That means we can go together, you said. I nodded and sat down behind you, wrapping my arms around your waist. Together, I said. Together, you said. Shall we? I asked. We shall, you replied.