After dinner in the lunch hall not much else was planned for that day, in essence everyone had free time to finish packing, get to know people and to explore. I chose the latter. The island was by no means big, perhaps 20 acres or so. The north side of the island was a large cliff – presumably for rock climbing and abseiling. The south however had a decent beach which had a storeroom for surfboards and kayaks just off the sand. The centre of the island was wooded and housed the cabins, meeting hall and lunch hall as well as a few other buildings I was yet to explore. The window in my cabin looked over to the east where the beautiful bay had calm water, not great for surfing but for water skiing and other activities would be perfect.
I was heading to the west of the island when I spied one of the girls from the fight at dinner pass in front of me. My eyes followed her, she was running and seemed to be in tears. I clenched my teeth and summoned the moral fibre which told me to go and find out if she was okay. I jogged down the path she had run and found her sat on a fallen tree looking out to sea, the sun was setting and the warm orange glow made her face look even more orange than I'm sure she desired. She didn't look up as I took a seat next to her and we sat in silence for a few minutes watching the water sparkle with the sunlight.
“Come on, you've got to admit it's not as bad here as you expected...” I said optimistically,
instead of a reply she took out a packet of cigarettes and lit one before offering me another, I declined. “Who are you?” she asked, “What do you want?”
“I'm Zac and nothing, I just saw you looked a bit upset and if you know, you wanted to talk about it...?” I was crap at these heart-to-hearts but she just smiled and inhaled the smoke.
“I don't want to talk about it,” she told me, “but we can talk about something else,”
“Okay sure,” I agreed, happy to have dodged that bullet.
“Short for Beatrice?”
“Do I look like a Beatrice to you?” she asked me,
“No,” I replied with a smile,
“Short for Bianca, I don't care what you call me, I like both names. What's Zac short for?”
“Zachary, but no one calls me that.” There was a silence as we heard some sea gulls begin to call, I smiled wistfully.
“It was that bitch, Blake – who has a name like Blake?!” Bee began, I groaned on the inside perhaps we were headed for a heart-to-heart. “She just gets all up in my grill, I don't even know her but I just want to punch in her face!”
“Are you here for like anger management or something...?” I asked, it was a rude question but Bee didn't seem to notice or care.
“No, I'm not here for a reason – apart from my parents they just don't see the world the same way as me and so I get punished for it.”
“I see,” I muttered, she was one of those 'the whole world is against me' kinda people. I realised this heart-to-heart would be easier than I anticipated, I really only needed to add a couple of words in every sentence and she'd just spiel.
“And then her little minion just attacks me in front of everyone, I look like a total nutcase fighting this girl who I don't even know and everyone is watching and God, I didn't even do anything!...Actually I know why she hates me, it's because I fooled around with that Cayden guy and she must like him or something! She's jealous! Ha!” We were both sat on the log facing towards the sea but I shifted my weight so I could really look at her, her make-up and fake exterior made her look fake and plastic. Now that black stuff girls put on their eyelashes was all down her cheeks, and the orange foundation had worn off and you could see a few freckles underneath. I hadn't seen what Cayden had seen in her at first, she had a nice figure but that was about it – after I really inspected her I began to realise she was still human – not some plastic barbie.
“Why are you staring at me?” she asked, I looked away and swallowed.
“I think you use all that make-up as protection, as a barrier to hide who you really are.”
“You sound like a shrink, a bad shrink!”
“I'm not, I'm just observing,” I smiled and handed her a tissue to blow her nose. She blew it and then let the tissue get caught in the wind. “Do you want to be here?” I asked her,
“What the hell dude? Who wants to be here?”
“I'm just saying, maybe if you get into the positive attitude this camp could really help you?”
“I don't need help, there's nothing wrong with me! Seriously...” she got up and began to march back towards the cabins. The sun had finally set and it was getting harder to see. I got up and ran after her, I grabbed her shoulder and she shrugged me off.
“Bee, wait!” I used my strength to stop her. “That came out wrong!” I said blocking her path with my body, “What I meant to say was this could be an opportunity to really understand who you are. I mean I'm some weird, home-schooled foreign kid with no real sense of nationality. I drank my problems away, got addicted and ended up here, broke and with the closest family thousands of miles away. Perhaps something hurt you back when you were growing up, something which has rooted itself so deep inside of you that even your subconscious doesn't realise it. You don't need to coat yourself in make-up and wear clothes that sell your body, you're beautiful just the way you are...” I realised I had slipped into Bruno Mars and I decided to go with it, “and when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile...” Bee put her fingers on my lips,
“Stop embarrassing yourself dude, you sure you're not gay?”
“I'm sure,” I smiled,
“Well thanks, no one have ever said anything like that to me before, even if you did steal them from some American singer whose real name is Peter. For the record I still think you're a total creep head, but a sweet creep head.”
“Creep head? Really?” I teased, she pushed me aside playfully and we walked back towards the cabins in the dark together. I'd learnt a lesson that day, not to judge a book by its cover.