"The Good Way"
Let Alison Cochrun whisk you away to Northern Spain in this feel-good romance of love on the Camino.
Readers of rom-coms will be familiar with Alison Cochrun from her hugely popular debut, THE CHARM OFFENSIVE, the 2021 queer romance about a big-hearted producer of a reality dating show falling for its elusive and sexy lead.
Now, Alison is back with “The Good Way,” inspired by her own experience of hiking the Camino de Santiago, a collection of European pilgrim routes that finish in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Get ready to swept away to Europe for this delightful tale of an unexpected connection between two very different hikers. Come for the scenery and stay for the sizzling sexual tension. This story of hope and healing will have your heart skipping a beat.
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“The Good Way”
“A mild Wild?”
The woman cocks her head to the side. She is giving Sadie the same uncomprehending stare the French couple had moments before when they swiftly walked away and left Sadie sitting in the dirt. The couple either hadn’t spoken English or had convincingly pretended not to.
Or perhaps they just found it unseemly that a sobbing American with red hair and a vicious sunburn was sitting on the side of the trail in the dirt with her blistered foot in her lap in the middle of Northern Spain.
It was probably that.
But this woman hadn’t walked away. She’d stopped and asked if Sadie was okay, and Sadie, in a moment of weakness, decided to be honest.
“Yeah, you know. Like the movie with Reese Witherspoon.” Sadie rubs the snot from her nose onto her sunburned forearm. The air is thick with humidity and her arm is slick with sweat now mingling with mucus. “In that movie, Reese’s life falls apart, so she hikes the Pacific Coast Trail. I’m not in good enough shape to hike the PCT, but I thought maybe I could do the Camino de Santiago. It seemed easy enough.”
The woman glances around the lush greens of Galicia in the midmorning sun—the tall eucalyptus trees that smell like fancy soap, the windblown grass, the gray rocks coated in moss. “You thought walking three hundred kilometers would be easy?” the woman asks slowly in a thick accent. Australia or New Zealand, probably. She sounds like Taika Waititi.
She kind of looks like Taika Waititi, too. Specifically, she looks like Taika Waititi playing a gay pirate. Curly black and gray hair, furrowed brow, and a chin that sticks out just so. Instead of wearing pirate leathers, she has on a pair of well-worn Hoka running shoes with Merino wool socks pulled halfway up her tan, muscular calves. The woman is quite attractive, actually, but Sadie doesn’t allow herself to dwell on that.
“Well, easy enough,” Sadie clarifies. “You don’t have to camp. There are, like, hotels and restaurants and stores on the Camino.”
“Yeah, and a shitload of walking,” says the woman who looks like REI Taika Waititi.
“I miscalculated. Which is why I’m here.” Sadie gestures to her palace of dirt among her kingdom of trees next to the path to Santiago de Compostela. “This has not been easy.”
Not been easy barely scratches the surface of her misery. Both of her feet look like Hamburger Helper, her yoga pants are wet from a misguided attempt to do sink-laundry at last night’s hostel, and she is sunburned absolutely everywhere.
The cute travel bloggers who promised her a transformative experience on the Camino didn’t warn her about the humidity or the hills or the mosquitos. Apparently, transformative experiences are reserved for peppy twentysomethings who look good in bucket hats.
Sadie is thirty-four and looks ridiculous in a bucket hat. Why did she think walking nearly 200 miles would somehow turn her into a different version of herself?
She should have done an Eat, Pray, Love—that’s what she should have done. She’s excellent at eating. As for praying, well, it’s been a minute since she sat in the pews at her parents’ church back in Ridgefield, Washington, and even longer since her prayers had any conviction behind them, but praying is probably like riding a bike.
But love. No, she’s awful at love. Love is what got her into this mess.
“But you’re so close,” says Camino Taika Waititi. She points to the trail marker with the yellow shell and yellow arrow. “Only eighteen kilometers to go.”
“I can’t do it.”
“You’ve already done it. The hardest part is behind you. All you have to do now is finish.” Easy for Girl Scout Taika to say, standing there with her trekking poles and her moisture-wicking hiking shorts. “Now all you have to do is celebrate how far you’ve come,” the woman adds gesturing to the shaded path ahead of them.
Sadie tries to envision herself making it to the end of this pilgrimage, to Santiago de Compostela. She tries to imagine what it will mean if she finishes.
It will mean going back to her old life. It will mean returning home to a place that doesn’t feel like home anymore.
“What if that’s the hardest part?” Sadie asks.
And the stranger unexpectedly plops herself down in the dirt. “What fell apart?”
Now that this woman is in smelling range, Sadie shoves her foot back into her sweaty sock. “What do you mean?”
“You said in the Wild movie, Reese hikes because her life falls apart. So, what brought you to the Camino? What fell apart?”
Sadie tilts her head back and glances up at the sunlight filtering through the trees, the blue sky beyond the canopy. “My marriage fell apart,” Sadie finally says.
The woman makes a clucking sound that is either an expression of empathy or judgment, Sadie isn’t sure. “How come?”
Sadie tests the words against her tongue. She hasn’t said them aloud yet, not to anyone, and it feels weird to practice saying them to this perfect stranger who looks like a gay pirate but is also sort of dressed like Laura Dern in Jurassic Park. The entire look is a bit overwhelming. “We divorced because… my husband is gay,” Sadie tries. “He came out, so we divorced.”
“Ah. Well.” The woman simply shrugs at this news. “Good for him on coming out. Bummer for you, though.”
Two women with Portuguese flags pinned onto their bags walk past and wave to their fellow pilgrims in the dirt. “Bom Caminho.”
“Bom Caminho,” Sadie says back instinctively. It’s how people greet each other on the Camino. Good way.
Nothing about Sadie’s way has been good, and now she’s only making it worse.
“I lied,” Sadie blurts. “It was the other way around. I came out. I-I was the one who asked for the divorce.” Sadie feels the tears pressing against the back of her eyes again. “I don’t have a lot of experience telling people I’m…”
“Gay.” Her mouth goes dry.
“Well, I’m a lesbian,” Mel says with another easy shrug.
Sadie flinches involuntarily.
“Are you… afraid of the word lesbian?”
“Shouldn’t I be?” Sadie asks sincerely. It’s always been a dirty word. A word whispered at sleepovers and launched across middle school locker rooms. Her tenth-grade geometry teacher with the mullet and the two girls at her high school who boldly walked through the hallways holding hands. All the taunts that followed. Freshmen year of college at Washington State University, her new friends saying, “God, what if my roommate is a lesbian? I’ll have to get dressed inside my closet every day.”
“I don’t know,” says the beautiful, confident lesbian sitting next to Sadie. “I think lesbian is kind of a bad-ass word.” She throws her head back and shouts for all the dirt, trees, and tourists to hear— “I’M A LESBIAN!” She turns back to Sadie, and she’s smiling. “I’m Mel, by the way.”
“Hi, Lesbian Mel. I’m Sadie.”
“Come on, Lesbian Sadie.” Mel pats her shoulder twice. “Put your shoes back on. We’ve got a pilgrimage to finish.”
Lesbian Sadie groans. “But my feet hurt.”
“Did you break in those fancy hiking boots before you started the Camino?”
“And holy shit,”—Mel hoists Sadie’s backpack out of the dirt—“This thing is heavy. You know your pack should only be ten percent of your body weight.”
Sadie huffs as she shoves her aching foot back into her stupid boot. “I wanted to be prepared.”
She says nothing.
“Here.” Mel slides off her pack. “My bag is lighter. Let’s trade.”
“I can’t let you carry my bag.”
“Then don’t let me. Say that I won the honor of carrying your bag in a very harrowing duel. And here—” Mel passes her one trekking pole. “You’ve got to finish your Camino.”
Sadie looks down at her too-new hiking boots. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Sadie.” Mel says her name like they’ve known each other forever, not just for five minutes. “Dykes who hike have to look out for each other.”
When Sadie flinches again, Mel just smiles. “And the Camino always provides.”
Sadie snorts. “What are you? The Camino fairy?”
Mel adjusts the straps of Sadie’s bag across her hips. “Something like that.”
Well, shit. She’s picked up another stray.
Sadie hobbles along the uneven terrain of the Camino, barely able to put one foot in front of the other in her expensive boots. Mel tries to focus on the clear skies and the sun on her forearms, on the sweet smell in the air and the earth beneath her feet, on the distance between her and the end of her journey, and how she’ll describe it all in her travel blog. How she’ll describe the verdant fields dotted with sheep, the unexpected clash of pine trees and palm trees, the charming small towns she’s walked through for the past eleven days.
Instead, she focuses on Sadie’s head about to hit a tree branch because she’s staring down at her feet. Mel feels a sudden urge to grab Sadie’s arm, to pull her away from danger, but she stops herself. Touching Sadie is not a good idea.
She reaches up and pushes the branch aside instead.
It’s the baby bunny situation all over again, isn’t it? The semester she spent studying abroad in Seattle when she found that nest of baby bunnies in the field behind her dorm and spent a month nursing them in her room before her RA found out and reported her to the university. How was she supposed to know it’s illegal in the United States to keep wild animals? The fine was more than her tuition.
Or maybe it’s like that time she was trekking around Te Waipounamu for a few months, and she decided to help that woman whose car broke down outside of Manapouri. They ended up traveling together for two weeks, but in the end, she still stole Mel’s caravan and her jeans.
Or like that time she let a friend sublet her apartment in Auckland for free while he got back on his feet, only to come home from a trek in Patagonia and discover he’d been working as an engineer for six months and bought himself a Porsche with the money he saved on rent.
Thanks to the help of a very good therapist, Mel can look at her past actions and see the pattern that emerges. She tends to put other people (and cute baby animals) above her own needs. And it tends to bite her in the ass time and time again.
That’s why she decided to do the Camino in the first place. Two weeks of being completely selfish. Two weeks of doing what she wants, when she wants. Stopping when she wants, eating what she wants, sleeping wherever she wants and with whomever she wants. Two weeks for Mel to practice putting herself first.
But Sadie. She was crying in the dirt. And Mel couldn’t just leave her there.
It doesn’t help that Sadie has red hair and a thousand freckles underneath her peeling sunburn. Mel can’t say no to women with freckles.
Besides, queers have to help their fellow queers, and Sadie is one sad, little queer. Her feet are tragic and her backpack is clearly filled with twenty unnecessary guidebooks on the Camino. Mel adjusts the straps again to redistribute the weight. At least Sadie bought a good, if unnecessarily large, pack— an Osprey 50L. It looks like it has never been used.
“What do you do for work?” Mel asks.
Sadie winces with every step down the hill, but at least she’s not crying anymore. “I’m a high school math teacher. That’s why I’m able to take off for a few weeks to trek the Camino. It’s summer break.”
Mel nods as she watches Sadie take cautious step after cautious step. Mel’s done four different Caminos, and she knows this is the trick: you have to take it one step at a time. If you think about how many steps you have left—how many steps you’ll take before you reach Santiago—you’ll become overwhelmed. But if you keep focusing on the next step, then the next, you’ll get there eventually.
“What about you, Camino Fairy?” Sadie manages to smile through her excruciating foot pain. There’s a gap between her front teeth, and that smile is the equivalent of a baby bunny. Mel would risk an exorbitant monetary fine and expulsion from the dorms for that smile. “What do you do for work?”
“I’m a pediatric nurse in Auckland,” Mel says. “But I have a contract with the hospital where I only work thirty weeks per year, so I can travel the rest of the year. I sublease my apartment and take off, usually for the summer. I write a travel blog as a side hustle.”
“Can I find it online? What’s it called?”
Mel smiles. “Dykes Who Hike.”
Sadie suppresses a smile. Her not-smile is even cuter than her real, gap-tooth smile. The twitch of her mouth in one corner. The way she puckers her lips to stop it.
They reach the bottom of a hill, only to see the rise of another, steeper hill. Sadie groans as she assesses the nearly vertical wall in front of them. “I thought you said the Camino provides?”
“It provides what you need, not necessarily what you want.”
Sadie groans again. It’s a cute groan. The groan of a woman in her thirties who has long abandoned the need to pretend to enjoy things she unequivocally does not. “And I need to go up a hill right now?”
Mel shakes her head in amusement. She would probably carry this woman up the hill if she asked nicely.
Except no. She’s not doing that anymore.
Sadie begins the slow ascent up the hill, but her trekking pole misses a rock and slips. She briefly loses her balance, and Mel instinctively reaches out to steady her. Her fingers encircle the warm skin below Sadie’s elbow. Both women right themselves, and Sadie stares down at Mel’s fingers on her skin. Mel lets go and clears her throat.
“Maybe this is exactly what we need.”
She does not need another damn hill. She needs a warm bath. She needs to find a way to make Mel smile again.
And Sadie wouldn’t complain if Mel touched her again, too. Her long, thin fingers sent little sparks up Sadie’s arm. A spark she hasn’t felt in a very long time.
“So, what do you hope to find when you reach Santiago?” Mel asks.
“Uh, a church? The Camino ends at a cathedral in Santiago.”
And there it is. Mel’s smile. It crinkles her hazel eyes in the corners. “Yes, obviously. But what are you spiritually hoping to find? You went on this trek because you came out and got divorced. So… what do you think you’ll find when you reach the end?”
Sadie stumbles over another rock in the path. Every step forward is anguish but carrying Mel’s lighter bag helps. The trekking pole helps. Talking to Mel helps. “Forgiveness, I guess.”
“What do you need to be forgiven for?”
If Sadie can’t confess her sins to a lesbian Taika Camino Fairy, who can she confess them to? “For marrying him when I was twenty-three. I knew in my gut it was wrong, but I went through with it anyway.”
“Hmm.” Mel is quiet as they finally reach the crest of the hill. “Did you know you were gay when you married him?” she eventually asks.
“No, but I knew I didn’t love him the way he loved me,” Sadie admits. “I knew I never could. I wasted ten years of his life.”
Sadie stops on the trail and squeezes her eyes shut at those guilt-tinted memories. So many years of knowing and not knowing at the same time. Her crushes on female celebrities, her conviction that all of her female friends were too good for their boyfriends. Hating sex with Matt and suffering through it anyway. Realizing the truth of what it all meant around her thirtieth birthday. The hints she tried to drop to Matt for months after that, the way she talked circles around it—and, after a few glasses of wine, when she stopped talking around it and all but said it and Matt still didn’t understand—until finally one night the words demanded to be heard: “I want to be with a woman.”
And the look on Matt’s face when he finally, finally understood the wedge that had always existed between them.
“I broke his heart,” Sadie says when she opens her eyes again.
A group of four retirees march past with an almost militaristic focus on their end goal. “Buen Camino.” They say the standard greeting, this time in Spanish.
“Buen Camino,” Sadie and Mel say back in unison.
“Sometimes, we have to break someone else’s heart to put our own back together,” Mel says when the Floridians are out of earshot.
Sadie doesn’t realize she’s crying again until Mel pulls a handkerchief out of the pocket of her shorts. “Please don’t use your arm again,” Mel says with a small smile that makes Sadie smile back.
“Who carries a handkerchief?” Sadie teases.
“A Camino Fairy, obviously.”
Sadie wipes her nose on the piece of cloth. It’s fringed with lace and monogrammed in purple thread with the letters MAM. It smells like cinnamon and oranges.
Mel smells like cinnamon and oranges, like something comforting Sadie wants to curl up against. She’s overcome by the feelings she spent a lifetime repressing.
“What are you hoping to find when you reach Santiago?” Sadie asks Mel as she hands back the handkerchief.
“Nothing, really. I just like to walk.”
So, they keep walking, through wooded trails filled with eucalyptus trees and pines, past sun-dappled fields, through sleepy little towns barely starting to stir at ten in the morning, past sheep.
“Okay, well, that’s not entirely true,” Mel says in her adorable accent. It’s been at least thirty minutes since either of them last spoke, and Sadie has completely forgotten what she’s referring to. “I mean, I do like to walk,” Mel clarifies. “But that’s not why I decided to trek the Camino. I also went through a breakup recently.”
Sadie secretly studies Mel’s pronounced chin in profile. She imagines touching her chin.
“I was with my ex for five years, and I tended to, uh… put her needs ahead of my own. I guess I have a pattern of doing that. At least that’s what my therapist says. So, the Camino was a chance to focus on me.”
Sadie stops walking on the cobblestone streets in the middle of a small Galician town. “Are you kidding me?”
Mel abruptly stops walking, too. “No…?”
Sadie rips the backpack off her shoulders. “Switch me back!”
“I can’t let you carry my bag!
“No, Mel. You’re sacrificing your comfort for me, and that’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing on this trip. You have to take back your bag.”
Sadie throws down the pack and shoves the trekking pole toward Mel. When Mel doesn’t make an immediate move to grab it, Sadie crowds in close. Oranges and cinnamon, sunscreen and comfort. “Take your bag back, Mel. You need to finish your journey, too.”
Mel stares at her a moment, her mouth slightly open, her chin even more sticky-outy than usual. Then, she slips off Sadie’s bag and allows them to switch. It’s an awkward dance of backpacks and trekking poles, and Sadie briefly buckles under the weight of her own things. But when she sees the look on Mel’s face, she decides she can handle it.
This is exactly what Mel needs.
She is not going to cry over a backpack and a trekking pole. That would be ridiculous. Because this isn’t even a big deal. It’s not like Sadie—a woman she’s known for all of an hour— is the first person to ever not take advantage of Mel’s kindness. Surely someone else in her life has shown her the same selflessness.
But as they continue through the quiet village, Mel can’t quite think of another example.
“It looks like that cafe is open,” Sadie says, gesturing up ahead to a black Estrella Galicia banner over two red sidewalk tables. “Do you want some coffee?”
They’ve only walked another kilometer or so since the bag switch, but it’s clear Sadie just wants a break from her pack, so Mel nods. In flawless Spanish, Sadie orders them both espresso and a croissant from the woman behind the bar who doesn’t speak English. Inside, pilgrims are drinking their first cerveza of the day alongside their cappuccinos.
Sadie and Mel go outside to the red tables.
“So, you really didn’t know you were gay when you got married to a man?” Mel asks as they settle in across from each other.
Sadie takes a tiny sip of her espresso and shakes her head. “I really didn’t. I…I… I mean, I’ve never even kissed a woman before.”
“Never? Not even at uni, drunk at a party?”
Through her sunburn and her freckles, Sadie still manages to blush. The combination of freckles and a blush is completely unfair. Mel crosses her legs under the table and squeezes them together. “Definitely not. It would have felt too…” Sadie searches for the right words. “It was fine for my straight friends to get drunk and kiss each other in clubs for male attention every time that Katy Perry song came on, but if I’d done it, it would have… meant something. It was too scary.”
Mel pounds the rest of her espresso and looks at the pink-and-red woman across the table from her. “I could kiss you,” she offers, and she’s impressed by how casual the words come out, even though her body is thrumming like it’s entirely made of espresso, like her blood is caffeine. “I mean, if you want to get your first lesbian kiss checked off your coming-out to-do list, we could kiss.”
Sadie’s cheeks somehow darken until her skin looks like the petals on kiss-me-nots, her freckles the brownish pistil at the center. Sadie chews on her bottom lip. “Mel,” Sadie says after an excruciating lapse of time, and there’s something familiar about the way Sadie says her name. Camino friendships are like that: forged in the fires of endless walking, instantaneous and ephemeral; intense, but likely to end when the walking is done for the day, when the last glass of cerveza is empty, when you find someone new to walk with the next day.
Mel doesn’t want to walk with anyone else, and she wishes she’d found Sadie crying in the dirt at the beginning of her trek. She would’ve left a sip of beer in every glass to buy herself more time.
“You don’t have to do that,” Sadie is saying. Mel is still staring at her bottom lip. “I’m not going to let you kiss me because you feel sorry for me. Your Camino is about putting yourself first. Don’t be so selfless.”
They rise from the table and put on their bags again, and Mel doesn’t bother telling Sadie that her offer was entirely selfish.
But they’re almost to the end, and there is no point in kissing a pretty, pink girl who will probably be on a plane tomorrow, anyway.
Damn, she wants to kiss Mel. She wants to hold this stranger by her pointed chin and she wants to run her fingers through her salt-and-pepper hair and she wants to kiss the shit out of her.
It’s been three months since she told Matt she wants the chance to be with a woman, but she hasn’t actually let herself want, not really. She hasn’t let herself look at other women on the street, on the apps, in her own head. Hasn’t let herself picture soft skin and smooth lips.
She’s walked one hundred and ninety-three miles to punish herself for not knowing what she truly wanted when she was twenty-three, and right now, at thirty-four, all she wants is to kiss Mel.
Mel said the Camino gives you what you need, not what you want. Tan skin and muscular thighs and thick hair. A jutted chin and hazel eyes and a smile like sunshine—the kind of sunshine that doesn’t burn you, but only warms you from the inside out.
Sadie thinks Mel is something she both needs and wants.
Sadie curses as they climb another hill.
She groans when the trail marker says they still have eleven kilometers. Eight kilometers. Five.
She almost falls in her stiff boots a dozen times, and they walk at a snail’s pace toward Santiago.
She keeps staring at Mel’s chin and looking away when Mel catches her.
Mel still wants to kiss her.
They spot the city in the far distance: gray buildings, a giant Ferris wheel, and the spires of a cathedral through the trees. The tendons in the tops of her feet ache and something is rattling around in her left shoe. It’s probably her baby toe.
“Can you make it the rest of the way?” Mel asks, passing Sadie her water bottle.
A group of German pilgrims passes with their Deuter backpacks and their yellow guidebooks. “Buen Camino,” they say in unison.
“Buen Camino,” Sadie says back. Then she turns to Mel. She’s come so far. She can take these last steps. “Yeah. I can make it the rest of the way.”
It’s the hardest part of the whole journey. Harder than all the hills, harder than the first day when she pulled off her socks and discovered a half-dozen blisters. Harder than getting out of bed every morning for the past eleven days with the knowledge that all she would do is walk. Harder than telling Matt the truth. Harder than accepting the truth herself. Harder than the years she spent hiding and lying to everyone in her life—but to herself most of all.
Harder than pushing away everything she’s ever really wanted.
The last mile is the hardest thing she’s ever done, but she does it, hobbling on butchered feet attached to strangled ankles attached to the sorest, saddest pair of calves in the history of human calves. Her shoulders ache from her absurdly heavy pack and her hairline is damp with sweat and she has at least three new mosquito bites. But she does it, with Mel at her side.
And when they reach their destination, there, in the middle of Santiago de Compostela—the town of a saint—is a rainbow painted alongside a crosswalk, like a giant Pride flag. Maybe it’s for God, not the gays. Maybe it doesn’t matter, because it feels like an arrow pointing the way, and she hauls her gay ass a thousand more steps through crowded streets. And then Sadie and Mel are standing beneath the cathedral, backpacks at their feet.
The square is full of hundreds, if not thousands, of pilgrims. Pilgrims with bikes, pilgrims with backpacks, pilgrims sitting on the ground to stare up at the church that marks the end of their journey.
And it’s just a church. Just a large, imposing, impressive church, its twin bell towers piercing the blue sky.
Did she walk two hundred grueling miles for a church?
It feels anticlimactic.
It feels… like the church probably isn’t the point at all.
Sadie stares up at that ornate Romanesque building, and she throws her head back and shouts, “I’M A LESBIAN!” at the top of her lungs. She shouts it right at that giant church.
Beside her, Mel laughs. Around her, dozens of pilgrims turn to stare. She ignores them and she screams it again. “I’M A LESBIAN.”
Again, and again. I’m a lesbian. I’m a lesbian. I’m a lesbian.
When she turns back to Mel, she finds a sunshine smile pointed directly at her. It feels like a spotlight. “So. Did you find what you were hoping for?”
Sadie shakes her head. “Almost.”
And then she reaches for Mel. Mel’s smile widens, and she seems to understand Sadie’s intention as soon as Sadie’s hand finds her pointed chin. Mel’s mouth finds hers first, and Sadie happily surrenders to her expertise at this moment. She gives Mel control, so Sadie can enjoy the beautiful simplicity of kissing a woman for the first time beneath the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in front of a thousand other pilgrims.
It’s a good kiss. She knew it would be good.
Sadie’s mouth tastes like espresso and her hands wind their way through Mel’s hair, and it doesn’t feel like a kiss between strangers who will part ways after the last beer. It feels like a kiss between people who might choose to walk together again. It feels good.
Mel doesn’t want it to end, but when it does, Sadie’s hands are still in her hair.
“What do you want to do next?” Sadie asks through her gap-tooth smile. No one ever asks Mel what she wants.
“Well…” Mel pulls Sadie close. “There’s an extension to the Camino that takes you out to Finisterre on the coast. It’s only ninety kilometers, and it’s supposed to be beautiful.”
Sadie pulls away, and Mel decides she hates her hair without Sadie’s fingers in it. “You want to keep walking?” she asks in faux-horror.
Mel shakes her head and opens her mouth to take it back. Let’s just get a beer, Mel is going to say.
“Fine,” Sadie says before Mel can pretend. “But I am going to need to rest for a bit. And I am definitely going to use one of your trekking poles.”
Mel smiles. Sadie smiles back. “That sounds like a good compromise to me.”
Next week, a short story from TJ Alexander, author of CHEF’S KISS.
Three things from Georgia
I’m not a hiker myself, but I can attest the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn are Allbirds. I currently have four different pairs, and if I was getting a fifth, it’d be these FLUFFY (!) white ones.
I just finished FLYING SOLO by Linda Holmes, another delightful slow-burn romance by the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, complete with a hot librarian, charming banter, and a cozy mystery featuring a wooden duck.
I’m enjoying Morning Person, a weekly Substack created by Leslie Stephens, filled with her wittily penned recs, ideas, and essays, centered around living an intentional and well-entertained life.