I know it was dark. At first, I thought I was alone. Then, a muffled stream of tears and sighs. Tony sat next to me. We were wrapped in the same blanket and while I was confused and getting my bearings, she was upset. I had just woken up.
Later, I was told many times over that my parents had left me alone. With a bear. After attempting to frighten a brown bear out of their campground kitchen, the resentful mammal had torn a long slice out of their canvas "door" and very loudly let it be known that he wasn't going anywhere until he had consumed his full of food. Both my mother and father learned quickly that a concrete wall is a formidable foe when it comes to escaping. They whispered to the camper on the other side of that wall who quickly gathered up a nice-sized group of curious onlookers who paraded over with pots, pans, sticks and other musical instruments that would undoubtedly persuade the bear to abandon his post. To no avail.
My parents were encouraged to escape while they could. And in the midst of the confusion, chaos, and surging dread, they did. Without me. I have always had a talent for sleeping soundly. In the top bunk of that small cabin I soundly dozed through the excitement surrounding me. And before Jim, the heroic neighbor-camper could come to my rescue, poor Tony was sure that I had been eaten alive by the bear.
Her tears served as my wake up call. In more ways than one.