A summer at summer camp from a counselor's prospective.
“Nice fire, Garret. It’s as big as the one in this picture at my school where the women were burning their bras. In retrospect, had they had the cute bras that we do now, they may not have been so eager to burn them. And bras are expensive.” So much for the reserved, quiet Kayla from a few hours ago. Get a few drinks in a person, and even the shy ones will start talking about burning bras.
I laughed; we all did. With all of Paul’s meet-n-greet games done and over with, we could finally get to really know each.
“I could make it bigger if you’d really like me to,” Garret said as he threw another log into the pit. He’d only had one beer.
“If you make it any bigger, it’s going to be dawn before it goes out,” Luke suggested from his seat on the bench. He was the only one sitting down, and aside from me, the only one who hadn’t anything to drink.
“Oh, who cares?” Kayla announced loudly as she clumsily tried to throw a stick into the blaze. I had stopped counting after she had downed four cans of beer.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement in the shadows that surrounded the blaze. “Did you get the music?” Isaac hollered to Mike and Lewis. Isaac had sworn that he would stop after two beers, yet he held his third in his hand.
“Of course,” they said as the entered the circle of light. “Did we not promise you the gift of music?” Mike spoke as he set his boom box on the picnic table. He grabbed a can off of the table, and took a swig of his fourth of the evening.
“And what good would that be without duh, duh, duh, duh… CDs?!” Lewis was matching Mike swig for swig as they raced through their cans. It seemed like they had been racing through everything all day. Right now, I think they are tied as of the moment.
“Are you really gonna stay sober all night?” Lois asked as she once again tried to get me to ‘loosen up and have some fun.’ Lois had only had two beers, but she weighed in at about 93lbs, so she was pretty much wasted.
On the other side of me, Jeanine finished off the last of her can. She had said that she would have some, and one can was her limit. I was glad she was here; she made me seem less quiet.
Annie stood up dance as the music started playing. She hadn’t had quite as much to drink as Kayla had, but she was close. Somehow they pulled Garret in, and the three of them cast dancing shadows into the shadows surrounding our campfire.
As the song finished, Panic! At The Disco’s “There's A Good Reason Why These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet” began pouring out of the speakers. Granted, it wasn’t the greatest dancing music, but it was loud, and it was fun. Lois pulled Luke to his feet to join her as she began dancing. Luke looked pleadingly at his fellow counselor seated beside him. When he stood up, my heartbeat picked up the pace.
CJ began dancing beside Luke who was trying desperately to keep a beat. Between Lois and CJ, he wasn’t doing too terrible of a job. At first I was shocked to see CJ dancing, and apparently so was Luke, but I guess that after a few beers, even reserved people will start moving along to the beat.
Jeanine looked at me, and I nodded. We both stood up and joined in with the others. The next song was “Sandstorm,” and we all started jumping up and down. “I’ve missed camp so much,” I yelled over the music.
“Me too,” Jeanine yelled back.
This was our first day of our summer at Camp Concordia. I had wanted to be a counselor here for at least six years, and here I was with the whole summer ahead of me. My counselor from last year, Lois, was back again along with Luke, CJ, and Jeanine. Last year Jeanine’s older brother Eric and his girlfriend, Kelly, had been counselors, but they hadn’t come back this year. Garret was back, of course, but he was the Camp Director Paul’s son. He and I and Kayla were the youngest. Then Annie, Lewis, Jeanine and Michael were a year older. Isaac and CJ were two years older while Luke was three and Lois was four years older. Last year I had been a junior counselor because I had yet to turn eighteen and graduate high school.
For the last four or five years, the camp had been growing, and this was the largest number of counselors the camp had employed in over fifteen years. To be fair, Lewis, Michael, and Annie weren’t counselors. Lewis and Michael were employed as kitchen staff while Annie was our medic. But the rest of us were here as counselors.
Finally we all sat back down on the picnic tables as a slightly slower song came on. “We need food,” Lewis said. Murmurs of agreement went up among the crowd.
“I’ll get some,” CJ said with a slight slur in his voice. He was definitely more attractive when he was sober. “Hey, Haleigh, want to help me?”
Not that he was unattractive when he wasn’t sober. “Sure,” I shrugged my shoulders nonchalantly and followed him out of the circle of light and into the shadows. It took me a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dark, but when they did, I was easily able to negotiate my way to the lodge without killing myself on any obstacles. CJ was silent the whole way there.
Once we were in the kitchen with the light on, he turned to me. “Sorry I didn’t keep touch as well as you did.”
“That’s fine,” I said as I turned to open a cupboard to search for some food. I felt my cheeks go red. I had gotten CJ’s email address last year, and I had sent him myriad emails over the course of the school year. He hadn’t sent me near so many. “You were busy. I expect to be busy in a few months too.”
“I saw you watching me across the campfire.”
What does someone say to that especially when that someone thought that they were being so sneaky? “Um…”
I felt him move a little closer to me. “I wish I had been a better pen pal.”
“Like I said, it’s fine.” I turned back around to find him only inches away from me. The urge to back up was so strong that I thought I would burst, but with the counter already right behind me, there was no point in making an awkward situation out of this. “You were busy.” I moved out from in front of him and continued my search. Eventually I came up with marshmallows, chocolate, and animal crackers. Graham crackers were not to be found. “Does this look good to you?” I asked.
CJ had been leaning against the counter behind him. Pushing himself off of it, he walked over to where my findings lay. Turning to me once more, he put his hand on the small of my back, moved me so that I had my back to the counter, and left a trail of kisses from my ear to my the corner of my lips. I was so stunned that I stood rigid in the circle of his arms.
“Are you alright?” he asked, and his breath was warm against my cheek. I nodded and he kissed my forehead. “Do you want to meet later tonight?” I nodded once more. “Cool. I’ll break away from the group, and you can come pick me up past Paul’s house. K?”
“Sure,” I whispered as he picked up the bag marshmallows and tub of animal crackers. I scooped up the Hershey bars.
As we reentered the circle of light, it was obvious that the drinking was in full force once more. Silently we set the food on one of the tables. I returned to my seat, but CJ left in the direction of the BMX trails that ran along the lake. “Where’re ya going?” Garret called.
“A walk. I don’t feel so hot,” CJ called back and Garret let him go.
Now I just had to figure out how I was going to get away from here. While I was trying to come up with a plan, I decided that it was crazy for me to do something like this, and that the only reason CJ wanted anything to do with me was because he was intoxicated. In the end I decided that I would go meet CJ and explain to him in a very rational matter that I wasn’t interested in going anywhere with him while he was drunk off his feet.
It’s too bad. I had dreamed about such kisses and such a nighttime excursion in only my most pleasant dreams. This is why I don’t drink because I don’t want to end up doing what CJ had done and go after someone whom I would only be interested in if I had had torrents of alcohol streaming through my bloodstream. Alcohol makes people do stupid things, and I can do stupid things all on my own; I don’t need any help.