That Summer

June 24, 2011
Dear Linda Ann Meyers,
Due to a vast amount of applicants to our summer orientation seminar, we have had to revoke your application. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and hope you still would like to attend Harvard University in the next fall. Enclosed is a list of camps that would allow you to still obtain the number of summer volunteer credits required for acceptance to our prestigious school. We hope to see you in the fall.
Harvard Academics Office


I sat there transfixed on my computer screen. I blinked hoping the message would just disappear, but it didn’t. I had sent in my application beginning of senior year of high school and I still hadn’t made it in. My fingers shook as I closed the inbox message. I had planned my entire summer around this seminar and now I had to be a camp counselor to gain credits? Camp had never been my strong point, I was good with kids now but as a kid, I had never been a people person. I shook my head going to the printer to show my mom the email.
She was cutting up flower stems and placing them in a vase downstairs. “What’s wrong honey?” she asked looking up from the cutting board. I didn’t say a word but held out the email. She put down the knife and took it from my hand. “What’s...oh…oh my…but Linda I thought you sent in your application months ago?” she said.
“I did send it in but I guess not soon enough,” I said looking down.

She walked over and took my shoulders. “Well no matter, you loved camp and I bet you will be a great counselor honey,” she said encouragingly. If she only knew, I thought silently. I sighed and she eyed me. “Something wrong?” she asked meeting my eyes. I shook my head and walked up the stairs to check the camp names.
When I reached my computer, my cat Sniffles, was sitting on the chair. I shooed her away and she hissed at me. I hissed right back; I was so not in the mood for her mood swings today. Pulling up the paper clip on the side of the email it brought up a list of promising looking camp websites. After looking through then I realized all of them were full of counselors except for one. My heart literally stopped as I read the name, Camp Greyback. Chills went through my body and I gripped the mouse tighter.
Camp Greyback. Just thinking the name was enough to make me want to throw up. I would have rather worked in the library information desk all summer like a loser than go there. I couldn’t tell my mother I couldn’t go there because I had been scarred for life; she would want to know why. I had too much pride for that sadly so I sucked it up and printed the camp information out.
I had gone to Camp Greyback since I was 12 years old until I was 17. After 18, you were allowed to become a counselor. Being 18, now my mom would find no reason I couldn’t handle a bunch of snot nosed campers bent on ruining my sanity. Sighing I got my tattered suitcase from the top of my closet and began to pack. I wasn’t sure if they would provide any camp tee shirts or I had to buy them so I packed twenty green tee shirts with random logos and shorts. On a whim, I packed my tight purple dress just in case I needed it and a pair of white platform heels. I grabbed over 12 different bathing suits not checking if they were mine or my little sisters Anya. She was fifteen and I was pretty sure attending some equestrian camp in Montana so it wasn’t like she would need a bikini. After taking all my makeup from the bathroom, I squeezed the overstuffed suitcase closed.
I fell on the floor after that and as I got up saw a small heart and L.M + B.L sewn on so small, you wouldn’t see it unless you really looked. I choked back a gasp remembering when I had done that, the summer of my 4th year at camp. I fingered the soft stitching and turned the suitcase over. I let my finger trace the stitch pattern until a felt a bit missing. I pulled and a single picture fell out of it. It was a Polaroid of a girl with red hair and a killer smile, who I realized was me, and a boy half hiding his face from the camera, with wicked dimples. I looked so happy and carefree that I could hardly believe it was me.
I threw the picture across the room in disgust as Anya walked by my door. She did a double take and walked back. She opened my door softly all the way and peered in. Seeing me on the floor, she walked over and sat next to me. “Mom said you have to be a camp counselor this summer. What camp?” she asked.
“Camp none-of-your-business,” I said mockingly.
She stuck her tongue out at me making it hard to believe she was already 15. “Seriously I’m sorry, I know how much you wanted to go to Nerd Camp this summer,” she said. I scowled at her and said, “It’s a college seminar dimwit,” She held her hands up and said, “call it whatever you want, but we all know it is nerd camp,” I knew that she meant well saying that though. Getting up she picked up the picture as I tried to grab it. I tackled her onto the floor making a loud thump noise. Our mom called from downstairs but I didn’t hear what she said. Finally breaking free of my grasp Anya looked at the picture.
At first, she didn’t know who it was and then a smile crept across her face. “This isn’t you is it?” she asked in mock disbelief. “Oh you’re so funny Anya,” I said sarcastically. She rolled her eyes and then got serious. “I’ve never seen you this happy Lindy,” she said using her favorite nickname for me that she knew I hated. “That’s because I’m always around you,” I shot back snatching the picture from her. “Oh ouch that like so hurt, what are you like five?” she asked. “No but seriously I have never seen you this happy, where was this picture taken?” she asked sincerely. “Nowhere, now leave I have to pack and stuff,” I lied. She arched her eyebrows and said, “Fine I’ll just go ask mom then,” and ran out the door. I chased after her dragging her back up the stairs and into my room. “If I tell you then will you puh-lease leave me alone?” I asked. She looked at me as if to say “um of course not” and smiled.
“It was taken at Camp Greyback okay and he was just a friend,” I lied. My answer seemed to satisfy her except on her way out she turned around. “Aren’t you gonna be a counselor there, oh my god I should like so come,” she said excitedly. She ran downstairs screaming “mom” at the top of her lungs. I lunged at her but missed crashing into the side of the stairs. “NO” I yelled running into the kitchen. My mother stared at me and Anya like we were crazy as we both started talking a mile a minute. She turned her attention to Anya first and said “Slow down Anya, what about camp?” and then turned to me saying “Stop, your sister has my attention first” I bit my lip as Anya made up some half baked story about wanting to spend time with me this summer and go to Camp Greyback. “Oh honey I think that is just a fabulous idea, it will be great for you two to bond before Linda leaves for college,” she said. My mouth dropped open; I couldn’t believe she was falling for this. “But mom,” I started to say but was interrupted. “No buts, your sister is finally showing she wants to connect with you and you should embrace it,” she said turning around meaning the discussion was closed.

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