"How much longer do we have to walk?" Matt wined while stopping to rest his aching feet.
It has been two days since they started walking in the endless canyon.
"Don't you remember the view from last time, it's worth it.
And if we make it by sunrise, it will be the perfect time to take in the scenery" Aria kept walking, making Matt walk briskly to catch up to her.
"And anyway if we keep up this pace we will be there in no time." Aria walked quickly with a slight bounce in her step.
As the sun moved across the sky to the west Matt and Aria decided to leave the 2 miles to the lake for early morning.
Aria opened her pack and started to pull out the two-person sleeping bag and tent. Hands wrapped around her stomach and she was pulled into a tight loving hug.
"Aren't you supposed to be getting firewood so we can cook dinner" Aria giggled standing on the balls for her feet to kiss him softly.
"Well... I was about to go off but I saw an opportunity" Matt pulled Aria closer into a hug but then began to tickle her stomach. She squealed with laughter.
"Go... get... the... wood.." she tried saying in between her laughter.
Letting her go Matt began to walk away but then turned and said, "It's right here" with a wink. Aria grabbed a pebble to throw at him but when she stood up again Matt had vanished.
She could not help but smile as she did the torturous task of setting up the tent.
Ten minutes passed, Aria had just finished setting up the tent as Matt reappeared with a heap of tree branches.
"Look who decided to show up after all the grunt work is done," Aria said sticking her tongue out at Matt.
"Hey, I had to get the best branches for the best girl... And you're right, I hate setting up that awful tent"
The fire was cozy, warming them from the crisp air that nightfall brought. They leaned on a fallen tree eating they're instant noodles and sipping on tea.
They cuddled up next to each other Aria's head resting on Matt's chest, listening for his heartbeat but unable to hear it over the sound of owls and other animals.
Billions and billions of stars surrounded them. A little burst of light everywhere contrasts the black of space.
"Do you think after death, people we love come back and watch over us?" Aria asked with her soft voice, lost in thought.
"I think we become like stars after death"
"Well, there are always a billion stars in the sky, whether you see them or not. They are always there, looking over us. We look over the ones we love, even after death.
We might not always feel them, but they are there" Matt's eyes never left the sky.
Not even 10:00 yet Aria began to fall asleep on Matts's chest. "We should head off to bed" she barely got the words out before falling asleep in Matt's arms.
He carried her into the tent and into the sleeping bag.
Still, dark out Aria's watch alarm starts to blare. She began to sit up in the sleeping bag with sleep still crusted in her eyes.
"Matt, we better get moving if we don't want to miss the sunrise"
Groaning Matt rolled over "What time is it?"
"You're lucky I love you" Matt stood up kissed Aria's cheek and started packing up the tent. Twenty-five minutes later they began hiking.
When they arrive at the lake the sun has risen, rays of sunlight pooled over the canyon walls. A small beach of rocks led to a shallow part of the lake.
Dark grey rocks popped up in the shallow water, breaking the almost perfect reflection of the bright blue sky. Sunlight turned the trees into a pear green color mixed with yellow.
Trees surrounded the calm lake. The sky was the color of blue jays. Clouds were yellow from the touch of the sun. The canyon walls went on forever, into the horizon.
Greens, browns, and yellows of the trees popped out the more the sun rose up into the sky.
"What is more beautiful than this moment right here," Aria said in awe
"Well I know of one person" He wrapped his arms around her, his stomach touching her back. Slowly he put his head on her shoulder. "You, if you couldn't tell".
She turned her head and kissed Matt.
"One year since we last did this hike"
"You were supposed to be here, we were going to do it every year together," she said turning to look up at him."
"I know" He kissed her cheek "But I am here with you now, let's enjoy this well we can" Matt pulled Aria in closer, she felt his warmth as she closed her eyes.
When she opened them again, he was gone.
Turning towards her backpack, Aria took out and simple blue ern from her camping pack. Aria held him close to her one last time before throwing him across the lake.
She stood there looking out at the stillness of the lake. Tears filled her eyes, yet she couldn't help a small smile knowing this is what Matt would have wanted. "See you soon, my star".