Home > All Rhodes Lead Here(11)

All Rhodes Lead Here(11)
Author: Mariana Zapata

The problem was, she hadn’t written things down in order of easiest to hardest. She’d done random ones, and over the last two weeks, I had already done the grunt work of finding the ratings for their difficulties and figuring out how long each trail was.

Because I wasn’t used to the altitude, and I didn’t know yet how long I was going to actually be here, I had to start with the easiest and shortest and work my way up from there. I knew exactly what hike I would do first. Clara and I hadn’t talked about long-term scheduling, but I’d eyed the shop’s hours on the way out and saw it was closed on Mondays. I figured that for sure would be my day off, obviously. Now I’d just have to see what other day I could get too. If she wanted me to only work part-time, that was good. We’d… see. And that was perfect.

My plan was to start jumping rope tomorrow to give my lungs some exercise in preparation. I’d been walking and jogging almost every day lately, when I wasn’t driving somewhere new, but I didn’t want to give myself altitude sickness my first week here—at least that’s what all the travel forums I’d read had warned against. There really wasn’t anywhere to walk around here though, other than driving into town to a trail or settling for the side of the road, which didn’t exactly sound safe.

Either way, I set the two notebooks in front of me and reread my mom’s entry. The one I was looking for was toward the middle. Mom only did entries for new hikes, but continued doing her favorites over and over again. She had started this particular journal after I’d been born. There were older journals she’d done before me, but all those had been extreme hikes and ones in other places she’d lived before having me.

August 19

Piedra Falls

Pagosa Springs, CO

Easy, 15 minutes one way, clear trail

Come back in the fall to get in the river!

Would do it again

There was a heart drawn next to it.

Then I read it once more even though I’d already read the entry at least fifty times and had it memorized.

There was a photograph of Mom and me doing this hike when I’d been around six years old in one of the photo albums I’d been able to keep. It was an easy, short hike, only about a quarter of a mile in, so I figured it would be a good starting point. Tomorrow I’d talk to Clara about days off to be on the safe side and plan to work around them… if she didn’t fire me an hour in because I had no clue what the hell I was doing.

I dragged my finger along the outside of the journal; I didn’t do it over the words anymore because I was worried about smudging them or ruining them, and I wanted her notebook around as long as possible. Her handwriting was small and not all that neat, but it felt a lot like her. The book was precious and had been one of the few things that had never left my side.

After a little while, I closed it then got up to shower. Tomorrow I should take my tablet into town and go somewhere with Wi-Fi to download some movies or shows onto it. Maybe Clara had Wi-Fi at the shop. Stopping at the only other window in the house that I hadn’t opened as soon as I got into the almost too-warm apartment—I’d forgotten most places around here didn’t have air conditioning—I paused and glanced at the main house again.

It was even more illuminated than it’d been when I’d arrived. Light pierced through every huge window along the front and side. This time though, the Parks and Wildlife truck was gone.

For the second time, I wondered what my landlord’s significant other looked like.

Hmm.

I mean, I was already right here, where there was service. Plus, it wasn’t like I had anything else to do. I grabbed my phone and went back to the window.

I typed “TOBIAS RHODES” into the Facebook search box.

There were only a few Tobias Rhodes, and none of them were based in Colorado. There was one with a picture that looked a little old—and by old I meant maybe ten years or so from how blurry it was, like an old cell phone picture—of a little boy with a dog beside him. It said he lived in Jacksonville, Florida.

I wasn’t sure why I clicked on, it but I did. Someone named Billy Warner had posted on his page a year ago with a link to some article about a new world record fish that had been caught, and after that was a post with an updated profile picture of an even younger little boy and the dog. There were two comments, so I clicked on them.

The first one was from the same Billy Warner, and it said: Am got my looks

The second comment was a reply, and it was from Tobias Rhodes: You wish

Am? As in… Amos? The boy? His skin tone was about right.

I went back to the posts and scrolled down. There were barely any. Three actually.

There was an even older profile picture of just the dog, this big white one. And that had been from two years before that.

The other post was from the same Billy person with another fishing link, and that one had comments too.

Being as careful as possible, because I was going to die if I accidentally liked an old post—I would literally have to delete my account and legally change my name—I clicked on the comments. There were six.

The first one was from someone named Johnny Green, it read: When we going fishing?

Tobias Rhodes responded with: Whenever you want to come visit.

Billy Warner replied with: Johnny Green, Rhodes is single again. Let’s go.

Johnny Green: You broke up with Angie? Hell yeah, let’s do it

Tobias Rhodes: Invite Am too.

Billy Warner: I’ll bring him.

Who Angie was, I had no idea. Chances were, it was an ex-girlfriend or maybe even a current girlfriend? Maybe they had gotten back together? Maybe it was Amos’s mom?

Who Billy or Johnny were, I had no idea either.

There was no other information on his page though, and I didn’t trust myself to snoop through other profiles without getting caught.

Hmm.

I exited out of the window before I accidentally clicked on anything.

I’d just have to snoop through Picturegram and see what I could find. That was a good plan. Worst case, maybe I could invest in some binoculars to snoop on the outside.

Deciding that was a good idea, I went to take a shower.

I had a busy day tomorrow.

I had a life to start building.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

A gallon of water even though it was less than a one-mile hike? Check.

Brand-new hiking boots I had only tried breaking in walking around the apartment that were more than likely going to give me blisters? Check.

Two granola bars even though I’d just eaten breakfast? Check.

Two days later, I was ready to go. It was my first day off since Clara had hired me, and I was going to try and knock out the short hike to the waterfalls. I’d been guzzling down so much water in an effort to avoid getting altitude sickness that I’d woken up three times last night to pee. I didn’t have time to get hangover-like symptoms.

Plus I was hoping that the hike would get my mind off how useless I was at the shop.

Just thinking about the shop got me to stop with the Spice Girls lyrics I’d been singing under my breath.

My first and only day had gone just as bad as I’d worried it would, as I’d warned Clara it could. The shame of staring blankly at one customer after another when they asked questions hurt me. Literally hurt me. I wasn’t used to feeling incompetent, to having to ask one question after another because I literally had no clue what in the world the customers were referring to or asking for.

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