Depression Camp

October 29, 2011
By , Oakley, CA
Debbo
Depression camp. What a fun place to be. I slung my sleeping bag on the top bunk. None of us were sad. If anything, we were mad. We all knew why we were there. Some councilor decided that our lives were pathetic, and we should be sent to a camp with a ton of other kids with messed up lives, so we could all cry together. Thoughtful.
I looked to the girl on the opposite bunk, just to realize she was staring straight back at me. Wordlessly, we decided to meet in the corner. We didn’t talk, we drew. I glanced at her sketch, and sighed. We were both thinking about the same thing. Heaven. I don’t know if I believe or not, but I sure wanted to.
Her name was Deborah. Before I could find out much more, we were shuffled off to a sappy ceremony where we put a picture of our loved one on a board, and a flower in a vase. If that was supposed to make me burst out in tears and give in, it wasn’t working. We went to dinner, and I slid next to Debbo. We mumbled through mouthfuls of Quesada, and agreed on what we wanted. Happiness. I wanted it because of pride. She wanted it for relief. That’s when I learned.
It had been so soon. Her brother was ten. Jojo. Jed, her youngest brother, had been there when he hung himself. My goal changed. I no longer cared if I was in pain. For those two days, all I wanted was for those two days was for Debbo to be happy. That’s how the talentt show was formed.

Desseray
I’m a singer. Debbo is a hula dancer. With a group of enthusiastic 6 year olds and determined 11 year olds, we formed a talent show. Debbo was leading all the little kids in a dance. One girl, in particular, was especially nervous. Dessi had recently lost her father, and was finding a hard time opening up to people. I stood by her and supported her as much as I could. I helped her through the rough patches. I felt a slight tug on my pant leg, and I turned to find Dessi, her teady bear at the ready. I knelt beside her. “Yes?” “Are you gonna dance?” she asked in a petite voice, “’Cuz I’m only gonna if you will.”
“Of course, Dessi.”

Walking Stick
I slowly walked toward the bus, Dessi in one arm, her suitcase lagging behind us. We met up with Debbo, dropped our stuff off, then silently slipped away to pick wild blackberries. While Dessi was shoving the fruit into her mouth, I announced that I had a present for her. I plucked from the bramble the sick I had concealed the night before. Suffocated in stripes of colored duct tape, it was short and straight, perfect size for her to use as a walking stick. Her eyes lit, like a puppy receiving a bone. She removed the bracelet she was wearing and, after dropping a wordless tear, handed it to me.





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