I watched his retreating back for a minute before I sank down on my bunk in disbelief. CPR, first aid and survival? The responsibility he was placing on me was nerve-racking. Trying to collect myself, I pulled out my iPhone so Carol could talk me through the crisis. I was dismayed to find no signal after sliding my finger across to unlock the screen. “Seriously, no service?” I muttered to myself as my only means of sanity disintegrated before my eyes.
I was literally in my own personal hell.
“Talking to yourself after being here less than fifteen minutes means you’re either a few cards shy of a full deck, or you just figured out you’re in BFN,” a tall willowy said while stepping into the cabin. “Hi, I’m Amy," she said, smiling at me mischievously as she tucked a long lock of her blonde hair behind her ear.
“I’m Kimberly,” I said, reaching out to shake her hand. “BFN?”
“Yeah, you know, Bum Fock Nowhere,” she said laughing.
“Fock?” I asked.
She laughed harder. “Sorry, I promised Louise I wouldn’t swear anymore,” she said, plopping down on the bunk opposite of me. “I normally swear like a frat boy, but Louise promised to help me find bargain furniture in the fall for my apartment off campus if I stopped. Key word being bargain,” she emphasized making air quotes with her fingers. “Since my funds are limited. Thank goodness I’ll be eligible for student loans, otherwise I’d be shi… oops, I mean SOL,” she corrected herself laughing. “I’m still trying to get the hang of this no-cussing gig. It’s almost like I’m learning the English language for the first time.”
I couldn’t help grinning at the overflow of information she’d thrown my way in less than one minute. I had all kinds of questions for her, but decided to stick with the easiest.
“So, who is Louise?”
“Louise is the chef and camp assistant extraordinaire. She keeps me in line. She’s been after me for years to clean up my mouth, but hell, when you’ve been bounced around as much as I have, you’re bound to be exposed to some colorful language. Oops, don’t tell her I said the H word. I’m pretty sure she’d count that as a curse word,” she said giggling.
"Oh, I love your bracelets," she said, switching gears and taking in the vibrant clay bead bracelets that lined my right wrist.
"Thanks. I made them. Here, you can have these," I said, pulling off two of my favorite ones.
"Shut up," she shrieked, throwing her arms around my neck. "You seriously made these?"
"Wow, you have some serious mad skills."
I couldn’t help laughing. Her bubbly personality sucked me in right away.
“Did you say years?” I asked, returning back to our original topic.
“Huh? Oh, yeah. I’ve been coming to Camp-I-Wish-This-Was-My-Home since I was ten. I was devastated the summer I turned sixteen and knew I was too old to be a camper anymore, but Louise contacted my foster home at the time and asked if I’d be interested in being a camp counselor. I jumped at the idea. My foster home at the time was a total drag. This’ll be my third summer as a counselor,” she added proudly.
“Wow, you must seriously like this place,” I said, looking around doubtfully at the sparse living conditions.
“Like? Dude, I love this place. Rick, or I guess I should say, your dad, which BTW, how totally awesome is it that Rick is your dad?” she said, wistfully switching gears. “All of us used to wish that he’d take us under his wing, like Mason. Have you met Mason, BTW? OMG, is he the yummiest nugget you’ve ever seen?” she rattled off in one breath.
My head spun trying to keep up with her. “Yeah, I met him. He’s a complete ass if you ask me.
“What? Are you sure you met Mason? Tall, blond, eye-candy galore, sweetest-guy-you’ll-ever-meet, Mason,” she added, looking at me skeptically for the first time.
“Yeah, that would be him. You don’t think his whole I-could-be a Greek-god act is a bit arrogant and annoying?” I asked.
“Kim, trust me, Mason is the least arrogant person you’ll find. He works his cute little hiney off around here. Rick’s always telling him
to take a break, but it’s like Mason is bound and determined to make it up to Rick for saving him.”
“How did Rick save him?” I asked just as an old-fashioned bell rang outside.
“Oops, it’s dinnertime,” Amy said, leaping to her feet in one fluid movement. “You’re going to love the food here,” she added, reaching out her hand to help me off the bed.
I snatched one of my new hoodies out of the bag as I followed behind her. My head was spinning at all the information she’d thrown my way. I envied her easygoing attitude, when by the sound of it, she’d had a tough childhood. It made me feel ashamed of the way I had reacted with my mom. All the lies aside, at least I had a mom growing up, which is obviously more than some of these kids can say.
The mess hall was filled with oversized round tables that easily sat at least fifteen people each. The far corner housed a kitchen with no separating walls. I watched as everyone pitched in to carry large serving dishes from one of the long counters that ran the length of the kitchen. They were joking and laughing as they deposited the dishes in the center of one of the round tables in the middle of the room. Rick was on the far side of the kitchen making a large pitcher of lemonade. He smiled at me when he spotted us standing in the doorway.
“Looks like we missed all the work,” Amy giggled, grabbing up a handful of napkin-rolled silverware that was on a low table near the door.