A lot can happen over the course of an entire summer, it seems like a short time now, as an adult, but to an adolescent it seems like it will go on forever…until it doesn’t. You know that any relationships are transitory, but somehow that makes them more vivid, more intense. It’s why you remember them so clearly today; you remember how she looks with her hair wet coming out of the swimming pool, you remember how you felt when she grabbed your hand for the first time, you remember, the first thing she ever said to you. You remember because it ended without an ending
From the time you get up in the morning, you wonder where she is. You pay a little extra attention to yourself getting ready. That means putting on your least dirty t-shirt and slapping a little extra water on your face. It’s camp. You’re not going to stay clean for long anyway. She’ll take more trouble, but she’ll be sweaty before long as well.
As you wait for all the cabins to gather for the flag raising, you look for her. You’re shifting back and forth on your feet trying to stay warm in the cool morning air, the dew still on the grass and the mist still rising off the lake. The lake is quiet, the frogs and night birds having made their exits, resting up for another night of cacophony. The only thing you hear is the murmur of half-awake campers. Even the counselors, who are NEVER quiet are subdued.
Now you can see her counselor, who is pretty, but you look right past her. There she is, her blonde hair in pig tails today. Now she sees you and a look passes between. You both wish you could spend the day together, doing all the camp things side by side; summer camp doesn’t work that way. You’ll both ride horses, but not together. You’ll both eat three meals in the dining hall, but with your own cabins, and you’ll play softball, volleyball, take swim lessons; but your paths probably won’t cross.
But you find ways to steal time together. There’s always a bit of planned “free time” and given it’s brevity who you spend it with is vitally important. By some miracle she always chooses to spend it with you. Spending your free time together is the top rung of the summer camp romance ladder.
The flag has been raised, the day’s first camp songs have been sung and it’s time for breakfast. As if drawn by some invisible force you naturally wind up next to each other walking into the dining hall. “It’s movie night” she mentions casually as you take her hand.
As if you hadn’t been thinking of that long after you should have been asleep last night. That’s a solid two hours where you could sit wherever and with whoever you wanted. The counselors will make loud speeches about no messing around, and how they will be watching and how they can see you even in the dark. But you know they aren’t looking; they’re just older teenagers themselves and even they will pair off.
” I know. See you then?”
“Of course silly!” She squeezes your hand a little harder and that’s both the signal to head for your cabin’s spot in the dining hall, and her telling you she’d be thinking about you until tonight.
But could she possibly be thinking about you as much as you are thinking about her?
© Glenn R Keller 2022, All Rights Reserved