They did not allow us the use of mobile phones in Blackrock Institute; we could only make calls from the phones in the office. It was policy. As a result, the inmates had developed their own systems for making contact with one another; aside from actually talking face to face.
I woke early one morning two months into my stay and found a note on a folded piece of paper that had been slid beneath my door. After pausing to pull on a t-shirt I picked up the small square of violet paper and opened it. It read:
Will you meet me in the middle of the maze at 1?
I could tell something was up. There was a tear stain on the paper. The writing was shaky. And Camilla normally wrote a lot more than just one sentence. I put the note on the bed and went to take a shower.
The hot, steamy water rolled off me, washing away everything. I always found the shower was an escape. I entered my own world. I was at peace. Those fifteen minutes were bliss.
I dressed quickly; a casual shirt and jeans and then went to the canteen for breakfast. I piled sausages, beans and eggs onto the plate and took them to a table in the corner. Michael sat at another table, and Damien and Sarah at another. Zach and Dr. Ellison sat at another in the opposite corner. Jonah soon joined me; but there was no sign of Camilla.
“Hey Logan” he said.
“Hey Jonah, you seen Camilla today? I think something is wrong”.
“I haven’t seen her since the day before yesterday. Why do you think something is wrong?” I told him about the note. “It doesn’t sound that bad Logan… maybe she just wants to hang out with you?”
“How’s your meetings with Dr. Evans going?”
“The usual. She asks me to talk about how I feel, she asks if I’ve had any episodes. I do my best to give the vaguest answer possible. How is yours?”
“It’s actually progressing rather well. Dr. Evans says I’m making great progress”.
“That’s great news! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what the PTSD came from.”
“That is a story for another day”. We passed the rest of the meal in silence, and then I went to the common room to kill time until one. Camilla was nowhere to be seen there either. I shook my head and took a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles from the shelf, put in my earphones (we were allowed MP3 players once they had no internet connectivity), turned on some Biffy Clyro and started to read. The next two hours passed as I engrossed myself in the novel; admiring Sir Arthur’s talent and storytelling.
When the clock reached half twelve I woke from my own little world and put the book back on the shelf. It only took two minutes to reach the garden, and another five to negotiate my way to the centre of the maze; I had visited quite a bit in my two month stay. I sat on the usual bench, took out the earphones and closed my eyes; waiting for the sound of Camilla’s approaching footsteps. Approximately fifteen minutes later I heard her.
She came out from the left entrance to the centre and spotted me. Her eyes were focused on the ground as she walked over and she sat down next to me on the bench.
“Hey Logan” she said.
“Hey Camilla”. I put an arm on her shoulders. “Is everything okay?”
“Like there’s nothing wrong really… but just…”
“I know what you mean”.
“Yeah. Do you want to tell me about it?”
She nodded and began to cry. I hugged her and she put her head on my chest. “I really miss Alyssa” she said. “She was the best friend I’ve ever had… and I don’t blame her for not coming back to visit me… I don’t think I would come back to this place if I got out. It’s nice to read her letters and write back to her… but I miss her you know? I could tell her everything. It’s a shame you never got to know her. You two would have been perfect for one another”.
“Yeah it is” I said, “Is missing her what is upsetting you?”
“What’s the other problem?” I asked.
“It’s… today is the anniversary of the day I found out I can’t have kids”.
“Oh” I said. I hugged her even closer. “I am so sorry Camilla”. She was crying even more. “I’ve been able to cope with it mostly for the last while… but it was a year ago today. All the old memories and fears are coming back to me”.
“What kind of fears do you mean?”
“No guy is ever going to want to be with me… I’m going to die alone… I can never mother a child of my own”.
“You will not die alone Camilla. You are an amazing, wonderful and beautiful girl. The guy you end up with is going to be lucky he found you, and he will love you with all his heart”.
“How can you say that?”
“Because I know. It’s the truth”.
“Yeah right” she scoffed, “Would you date me?”
I looked into her eyes. “If you and I were not best friends… if we were not so close… yes I would”.
She looked back into my eyes and smiled. “You and I wouldn’t suit each other Logan. Not like you and Alyssa would have”. She paused a moment. “You said you always wanted your first time to be with someone you really care about right?” she asked. “You don’t want to just throw it away on some random girl?”
“Do you really care about me?”
“Of course I do. You are my best friend Camilla”.
She smiled. “Then as your best friend I have a proposal. How about I be your first? Just as friends. I really care about you, you really care about me. And I can teach you a thing or two”.
I looked at her. “What?”
“You and me. How about it? Like I said, just as friends. No strings attached. It can be our little secret, but we’ll know that your first was with a girl who means a lot to you”.
“You want us to have sex?” She smiled and nodded. “Don’t you think it will be weird?”
“No I don’t. It’s not going to be like a boyfriend- girlfriend thing. Just one friend helping out another. Two friends who really care about each other. Nothing more”.
I looked at her again. I couldn’t believe what she was suggesting. But it sounded right. I cared about Camilla, and I had always imagined my first time being with someone who I really cared about.
“Okay” I said.
She grinned. “Really?” she asked.
“Yeah” I smiled. “If you want to”.
“I do” she smiled. She leaned over and kissed me; biting my bottom lip as she drew away. “Will we say tonight?”
“That sounds like a plan to me”.