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Alabama, Arkansas

By , Columbus, OH
We went to camp together. Justin and I. I guess we flirted a lot but I never noticed. He was always just my friend. He waved to me every morning from his cabin’s porch and every night too. Sometimes I’d still be sitting there when he went to go hook up with his girl, but I sat in the shadows so no one could see me. I wondered if he ever saw me slip down the path to the dock to see my guy. I didn’t think he ever saw...

One Saturday I walked into the dining hall with one of my campers. She dragged me along by my hand, skipping and humming to herself. She had red hair and almost always wore a little green bandana in it.

“Celia?” She asked me. I looked at her and raised my eyebrows. “Is it okay if I go sit with my friends? Will you be mad?” I laughed.

“Of course not.” I told her, and she grabbed a bagel before sitting with a group of other campers. I buttered a bagel as well, and looked around the dining hall for another counselor to sit with.

“Celia!” Justin was sitting alone by the mural of the rainbow. “Come sit!” I smiled to myself and sat down to join him. We talked about music, mostly. We both love Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. A lot. He changed the subject though. “So I saw you last night...” He said cryptically. I raised my eyebrows at him, but kept eating my bagel. “I saw you go down to the dock.” I swallowed nervously and my large mouthful of bagel scratched my throat on the way down. I coughed a little but tried to compose myself.

“You did?” I asked, taking a sip of milk. “Yeah, I um... I like to go down there at night.”

“What for?” He asked, putting his fork down.

“I just like to look at the stars.” I said. I took another bite and looked away. I could see the skepticism in his face but he didn’t say anything. “Are you guarding at the pool today?” I asked, trying to create a bridge between our gap.

“Mhm.” He muttered. This was a rickety bridge.

“Got any nights off soon?” I asked, trying to rebuild.

“Tuesday.” He said, mouth full. He has to know I was lying. “I gotta go make sure my campers are all awake.” He said, standing up quickly. “See ya.” He grabbed his plate and went off.
That night I stood on the porch and watched all the cabin’s lights go out. I waited to see Justin appear from behind the screen door, but he never did. After a while I grabbed my phone and shot a text to Jared.

“Dock?”
“sure c u in a sec”
“k”
How romantic. This time I took the long path, the one that stretches almost all the way up to the back of the dining hall then down in front of the soccer field, behind the climbing tower, and through the trees. Taking this path made my commute about 10 minutes. Ugh. Jared was already waiting for me, standing on the dock looking out at the lake. He heard me and turned around. A smile stretched across his face and he cheeks turned pink, pink.

“Hey beautiful.” He smiled, meeting me on the rocky sand. I said hello, and let him kiss me. It was boring at first, regular. Like all the other times we’d hooked up. He kept kissing me, and I got bored. He was into it. Me... not so much. I heard something coming down the path.

“Jared.” I whispered.

“What?” He asked, out of breath.

“Do you hear that?”

“Hello?” Called a familiar voice. Crap. “Celia?” I ran my fingers through my hair. “Celia are you down there?” I looked over at Jared, who started for the back path. The minute Justin’s feet touched the sand, Jared took off. Punk. “You alone?” Justin asked.

“Y-yeah...” I said. Justin let out an exasperated sigh, letting his arms fall from a cross position to his sides.
“Celia you don’t have to lie to me.” I shuffled my feet. This is uncomfortable. “Do you even know how much I like you?” I looked up at him with a furrowed brow. “It’s fine. I don’t care but even if we’re just friends, friends don’t lie to each other. God, I just...”
I took a breath to speak, but he cut me off. “I... whatever. I came down here to look at the
stars with you. Or something. I don’t know but I know you weren’t alone and I know that I don’t want to be lied to. By my friend. Friends. Whatever.” He turned to go back up the path.
“Hey. C’mon Justin. Wait. Just wait.” I grabbed his arm but he violently shook my grip. “Justin c’mon you’re being ridiculous...” He shot me a look and trudged up the path. I took the long way.
Camp ended a week later and Justin never waved at me. He avoided me, and left before
I could apologize. Or say goodbye. Or something.


A few months later, I got a fan page email. “Guess who’s coming to your town!” The subject read. I opened it.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Springville, SC
Sunshine Festival
September 10th
Main stage
Oh my god. Oh my god!

September 10th was an unusually hot day, the high being about 86 degrees. I put on my favorite denim shorts, tank top, and Vans. I drove to the festival with the windows down and parked a few blocks away. I walked to the main stage and weaseled my way to the front. I looked to my left, and there he was. The band began to play and I stood in shock.

“What are you doing here?” I mouthed to him through the thick crowd. He lives 4 hours away.

“This.” He mouthed back, smiling a little. I tried enjoying the concert with my friend, who met me there, but I couldn’t stop looking over at Justin who was looking over at me. The concert was great though, and kind of a dream-come-true. The left the stage and the crowd thickened, getting louder and more rowdy.

“Encore! Encore!” We could hear whistling from offstage.

“Alabama, Arkansas...” I felt an arm on my shoulder.

“I do love my ma and pa!” I turned, and Justin stood there intently.

“Not the way that I do love you!” Sang the band.

“I like you too... Or something.” I yelled over the song.
Justin wrapped his hand around to the small of my back and pulled me close.
“Holy moly, me-oh-my...” Sang the band. I smiled, Justin pulled me closer, and smiled.
“Or something.” He mocked, and kissed me. Finally.



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