Version 2.0: Summer Camp

January 13, 2008
By Renee Combs, Liverpool, NY

The land flashed by outside the bus windows in a blur. We had just left the city boundaries and the country was beautiful. I couldn’t wait to see the lake the camp was on.

I yawned and glanced at the people around me. There was a boy with short dark hair leaning his head against the window in the seat in front of me. Across the isle a girl with long straightened blonde hair chattered into her cell phone. I wondered briefly how she’d take it when she lost service.

I leaned back against my seat with a happy sigh. I loved summer camp. It was something I looked forward to every year. The fresh air was wonderful and it was always fun to meet new people. Maybe I’d even meet a boy this time.
* * *

A few hours later we were turning onto the road that led to the place I considered my second home, camp. I sat up taller in my seat and craned my neck, desperate to see the sparkle of the lake again, the greenness of the grass, the smoke coming out of the chimney of the cafeteria.

The second the bus stopped I was out of my seat and grabbing my heavy duffel bag, the one that contained half my wardrobe. I turned toward the aisle, my hair swinging, and straight into the boy that had been sitting in front of me. We both dropped our stuff all over and I couldn’t have been more embarrassed.

“Oh my god, I am soo sorry!” I apologized profusely and bent to pick our bags up off the floor. He laughed and knelt down to help me.

“No problem.” He said with a smile. He grabbed his bag and headed off the bus.
I looked around quickly for him, but he had disappeared. I shrugged; I was sure I’d see him again.
* * *

The morning went quickly. We had an assembly in the cafeteria which mostly consisted of the leaders repeating rules for the benefit of those who were here for the first time. We had some lunch and then were allowed to finally go to our bunk houses
* * *
I was relieved to finally be able to set my heavy bag down. I dropped it at the foot of my bunk and collapsed onto the bed that would belong to me for the summer. I closed my eyes and was relaxing into my pillow when the door to the cabin crashed open.
I bolted upright and saw the girl from the bus stumble in and drop three duffel bags and her big Luis Vuitton purse on her bed and smile at me. I smiled back and took in her perfectly manicured nails and expensive clothing conscience of my own jeans and baggy tee shirt.
“So I guess we’re roommates.” she said happily.

“Yeah,” I said stupidly. I cleared my throat; I’ve never been good at talking to new people. “Is this your first year here?” I asked.

“Mhmm,” she said as she searched in her bags, “How about you?”

“I’ve been coming every summer since I was five.” I smiled at the memories.

She looked over at me and let out a low whistle. “Wow, you must really like it here!” She said with another smile.

“Yeah, I really do.”
* * *

Lilly, my new roommate’s name, talked a while more before she decided it was much too hot in the cabin. So she declared that we were to go swimming.

It was pretty crowded down at the lake and there was hardly any room for our towels. We settled for a spot under a tree and hurried toward the water. It was absolutely freezing and it took us a while to get in. We were waste high and I was laughing and trying desperately to get away from Lilly’s splashing when I heard it. Kristine. I stopped and looked around for who might have called my name.

“What’s up?” Lilly asked seeing my confused look.

“I swear I just heard my name.” Lilly laughed.

“There’s got to be more than one Kristine here ya know. It’s not all that uncommon a name.” She said reasonably.

“I guess,” I trailed off. Of course I knew Lilly was right, it was probably some other Kristine.

“Watch out!” Someone yelled from behind me. I whirled around just in time to dodge the beach ball that had almost hit my head. The boy from the bus was swimming my way and smiling in apology.

When he came up to us I handed him the ball with a small embarrassed smile. I still felt bad about knocking all his stuff over. He thanked me and looked over my shoulder.

“Hey Lilly,” He said and grinned at me quickly. “Who’s your friend?”

“Kristine.” Lilly answered in a bored tone. “This is Adam,” She with a roll of her eyes. “Class clown at my school.”

“Hey.” I muttered. God I hated being shy. Adam and Lilly talked more about non-consequential things. We were getting cold from the wind and water and Lilly and I wanted to get dried off before dinner; but Adam refused to leave until we promised to eat dinner with him. We agreed and headed off to get ready.
* * *

It happened again while I was getting ready. Kristine! I dropped the brush I was holding and looked around. It sounded like the voice had come from right next to her.

“Did you hear that?” I called calmly to Lilly.

“Hear what?” She called back from the bathroom.

“Nothing.” I sighed.

We finished up and headed to the cafeteria. I felt self conscience in the skirt and tank top that Lilly insisted I wear. I was tugging at the hem of the shirt when I glanced up to see Adam waiting for just inside the door; I stopped and stared. Adam was very good looking, I won’t deny it, but that isn’t what stopped me, not at all. For a minute it looked like he was standing inside my room, the one at home. I blinked and looked closer only to realize that it wasn’t my room at all but the camp cafeteria. I sighed, still feeling uncertain but relieved; I was so sure that it looked like my room, my bed, my radio, my rose colored walls. Shaking off the weird feeling I followed Lilly over to Adam and into the building.

* * *

Dinner was amazing. I could see where Lilly was coming from when she called him the class clown. He was constantly making me laugh with his quick wit. And although they teased each other all the time you could tell he and Lilly were close like a brother and sister. So it didn’t really surprise me when she brought him up later in our conversation.

“You and Adam seem to be getting along well.” She said with a bit of a smirk.

Of course I blushed. “He’s really cool.” I said hoping she would drop it. Truth be told I think I was starting to get a crush on him.

“I think he likes you.” She whispered in a mock secret tone. I laughed and rolled my eyes. “No really,” her voice was back to normal, “He asks about you.”

“You’re lying.” I accused.

“Not at all,” she said. “Scouts honor.” She put her hand in the boy scouts sign and we both giggled. I threw a pillow at her and she squealed and threw it back.

“Whatever you say.” I said. I hoped she was right.

I started hearing my name more and more and saw my room at home just as often. I was beginning to think I was going crazy. Never once did I consider telling Adam or even Lilly about it for fear that they’d think I was a freak. I just hoped it would stop.
* * *

The next day Lilly came bursting into the cabin while I was reading. I glanced up quickly to say hello and went back to my book. But Lilly wasn’t having that, she tore the book from my hand and through it on the bed. She was smiling hugely.

“Hey!” I started to say but she interrupted.

“Not now! I have a surprise for you.” She said in a sign song voice.

Knowing it was pointless to argue with her I put my book down and sat up. “What is it?”

“I’m not telling you.” She replied with a mischievous smile. “Not get dressed. And make an effort please!”

For the next ten minutes she stubbornly refused to tell me anything as she did my hair and make up. Finally she put all of her stuff aside and smiled. “Perfect,” she said “now come with me.”

I had no choice but to go with her allowing her to drag me along like a child. I recognized the path to the beach and looked at Lilly in confusion. It was dark and cold, no time for swimming. Then I saw the faint lights next to the lake and stopped.

“Come on,” Lilly snapped over her shoulder and tugged me to a walk again. “you know you want to.”

I rolled my eyes and resigned myself to an incredibly awkward time. When we were close enough to see Adam and each individual candle Lilly pushed me ahead, turned on her heel and left.

Adam caught me as I stumbled toward him and smiled. I smiled back, blushing profusely. He pulled me down onto a blanket he had set out and gave me a drink out of a picnic basket next to him. Kristine.

He poured his own glass and tapped his glass with mine his eyes sparkling. Carefully, he took my hand. Kristine?

I looked up from our entwined hands to his face and smiled shyly back at him. We sat looking out at the lake leaning toward each other, completely at peace. For a moment I thought I heard something, music maybe. It sounded like something I would listen to on the radio. But just as quickly as it had come it was gone.
Slowly, he looked toward me and shifted restlessly. He hesitated for a moment then leaned toward me, lifting my chin with his hand…

Kristine! Now!

I opened my eyes and sat up quickly. My rose colored walls were beautiful with the light of the setting sun shining on them through the open window. The softness of my blankets against my face and arms was comforting. My radio played music from my favorite station.

A loud knocking on my door startled me. I heard my mother’s voice. “Kristine! Lets go, dinner!”

I sighed again and closed my eyes for a second. Then a sat up and pulled the censors off of my temples and wrists. A glance at the clock told me I had been playing for almost five hours.
I shook my head and tried to bring back the memory of the beach, the look in Adam’s eyes as he leaned towards me. But even as I tried to recall the image and feeling it faded away.
Oh well, there was always next time. I got up and ran a brush through my hair before washing my hands and heading down to dinner. Already my mind was across the sea in Paris, planning my next trip and all of the wonderful adventures I could have there.

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