I remember the night before I left for camp the first time. I was eleven years old and about to go into Grade 6. I was probably about 5'5" tall already and weighted about 85lb. A string bean with buck-teeth who's father called her Big Ethel. I wasn't going with any friends, just my sister, and I was dreading it. New situations didn't bug me as much as the fact that I would be spending two weeks without a TV or the comforts I so usually enjoyed. I bitched and moaned at my Mom for weeks before and incessantly on the drive to the bus. I was not thrilled.
Those two weeks turned out to be two of the most awesome weeks of my adolescence. I swam, I canoed, and I sang crazy campfire songs with my hormonally charged soul mates. I was chosen to participate in a long held camp tradition that involved not speaking for two days and run a pseudo-triathlon around the camp.
I met a girl who was from Toronto. She had a purple streak in her hair, loved The Cure and knew all the words to "Pour Some Sugar On Me". She was, by far, the coolest person I had ever encountered. She was a bit brash and loud, so I loved her for that, but it was one night, when she suggested we all fart in a can, that I knew I would never, ever, be that cool.
When my mother came to pick us up at the end of our trip, I didn't want to go home. It was truly some of the happiest times I can remember.
In about and hour, we're leaving to take Kristyn to her first camp experience. She'll only be gone today until Saturday. Also about to start Grade 6, she's just a tad bit shorter than I was, but she's just as lanky. I can tell she's excited, but very very nervous. I wouldn't be surprised if we had some tears, but she'll be strong. She's going with her best friend and I think that will help immensely. If I reall want to get a rise out of her, I tell her that the first time I kissed a boy was at camp. (It's not true, he was the second and it was my second year at camp, but she doesn't need to know that.)
Is it okay to admit I'm sort of jealous?