The next morning I wasn't as confident.
“What am I even doing here?” I mumbled, knowing the campers were due to descend on the camp anytime. “I know nothing about kids, and it’s obvious I’m a terrible example,” I added, freaking out about the responsibility that I would be handed in mere minutes.
“Kim, don’t be ridiculous, you’ll be a natural. Look at how much everyone already likes you here. It usually takes years to earn their respect,” Amy said, tidying up the cabin.
“Girl, you’re crazy. Even without Mason pointing out my flaws, I know I’m a mess.”
“Mason’s just being a complete douche, but everyone else admires your never-give-up attitude. You’ve got freaking nerves of steel, because believe me, I would have knocked his teeth down his throat by now,” Amy said, taking a big swing at the air.
“Ugh, don’t think I haven’t been tempted. I wanted to get along with him for Rick’s sake, but I’m seriously wishing a pack of wolves would drag him off.”
“We could dip a cot in honey and drag it out to the woods with him tied to it and see if you’d luck out with bears showing up,” Amy said loyally.
“Gruesome. You may like horror movies more than you think. Hey, are you sure I can handle this,” I asked, switching gears as I heard the bus pulling in on the gravel road outside.
“I’m positive,” she said, giving me a quick hug of reassurance. “For the most part, they just want love. Sure, you’ll have the occasional kid with a chip the size of Canada on their shoulders, but we'll figure it out. You’ll be fine,” she added, seeing my panic.
I squared my shoulders after standing up and followed Amy as she headed for the door. It was too late to turn back now. We stepped out into what I had now liked to call the deceptive sunshine because it was never as warm as it looked outside. It looked like an endless stream of kids tumbling off the bus. The noise level was deafening as the campers all tried talking over each other.
Rick stood on the bottom step of the bus with a megaphone in hand. “All right, campers,” he bellowed into the megaphone, getting their attention. “Girls, age ten to twelve, you’re with Amy and Kimberly, my daughter, in cabin Raven,” he said, pointing to where Amy and I were standing in the doorway. “Girls, thirteen to fifteen, you’re with Liz and Courtney in cabin Sparrow,” he said, pointing to the cabin next
door. “Boys, ten to twelve, you’re with Travis and Ryan in cabin Blue Jay, and boys thirteen to fifteen, you’re in cabin Eagle with Mason and John. Gather your belongings and head to your cabins. We’ll meet back out here at ten for orientation.”
Amy and I stepped to the side as our group of campers approached the cabin. The majority of them were first years, so they squealed over the thought of sleeping in bunk beds. There were a couple squabbles over who would get the top bunk, but Amy quickly diffused the situation by letting the eldest pick first. Soon the banging of the wardrobes filled the cabin as belongings were unpacked and stored in their temporary homes.
I followed Amy’s lead and assisted the girls in sorting through their stuff. I noticed Amy was taking an inventory of who had what, listing missing appropriate attire onto a sheet of paper.
“I’m going to go to the supply room and get some of this stuff,” she said, holding up the list once everything was unpacked.
“You’re leaving me alone?”
“They’re fine,” she said, indicating the girls who were already clustered into groups. “They basically entertain themselves. We just make sure no one gets hurt and no fights erupt.”
“Okay,” I said, folding my legs up under me on my bed. “If you come back and I’m tied up or something, you’ll know I lost control,” I mumbled as she headed for the door.
I could hear her laughing even after she walked out the door.
Sweeping my eyes around the room, I was relieved that Amy’s words proved to be true. Everyone seemed happy enough, chatting and exchanging stories about their current homes. It was a little heartbreaking, listening to their game to see who had been placed in the most foster homes. I may have been missing a father figure my entire life, but my mom had always provided the most stable home possible. It was sad to know that so many kids weren’t afforded the same luxury.
One of the campers I noticed was sitting alone on her bunk, not talking to anyone else. I jumped off my bed and walked over to introduce myself. “Hey, I’m Kim,” I said, holding out my hand.
She looked at my hand disdainfully, like it was a snake.
Ignoring the snub, I sat on the bed next to her. “Is this your first year here?” I asked, thinking she just felt out of place.
“You think I’m ten?” she asked disgustedly.
“Uh, well no. I just…Well, I just thought since you weren’t chatting with anyone you must be new and might need help fitting in.”
“Really, so if I’m not acting like a total ditz like them, I must need you to swoop in to save me?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
“No, I just figured you might need a little help…” I said, letting my voice trail off before I made matters worse. I looked at the door wistfully, wishing Amy would hurry up.
“Don’t worry about the poor orphan, okay? I’ve been taking care of myself for years,” she said, dragging a book out of her battered bag. She looked at me pointedly.
I climbed off her bunk, getting the hint. With one last sarcastic look, she flopped on her side, facing the wall with her book in hand.