I’m jolted awake as the car bounces over a rock in the road, a morning mist drapes over the surrounding forest that goes by outside my window.
“Oh, good your awake sweety we are almost there.” My mom says giving me a tight smile before focusing back on the bumpy road.
Yawning I rub the sleep from my eyes and pull out my phone to see if Kelly messaged me. Pressing the power button my phone blinks to life, showing no new messages.
A loud voice speaks up over my shoulder, “Give it a break Matt she doesn’t want to talk to you.” My younger sister Mellany sits in the back seat chewing a piece of gum smirking at me.
I quickly stuff my phone into my pocket and snap at her, “Shut up Mellany.” Rolling her eyes she puts her earbuds in and ignores me.
I turn back to mom and plead with her, “Mom come on, I don’t want to go to some shity little summer camp, everyone who’s anyone is going on the Italy trip. Mrs. Bellview and Mr. Richards are going to be supervising, what’s the problem.”
Sighing in annoyance mom shakes her head, “Matt, we’ve talked about this, with the new flu strain running around we don’t want you to get sick, you remember how bad it was last time you got the flu?”
It’s now my turn to sigh in annoyance, “Mom I was eight years old! It’s only the flu. I already got my flu shot, I’m not going to die.”
“Matt the answer is no, you’re going to Camp Pines for the summer with Mellany,” mom says with certainty.
All anyone has been talking about all semester is the senior trip to Italy, my best friend Charlie and I had made so many plans for the trip. Not to mention this was when I was supposed to take the next step in my relationship with my girlfriend Kelly, now ex girlfriend after she dumped me when I told her that my mom wouldn’t let me go on the trip with her.
With all these thoughts swirling through my head I finally explode, “NO! Don’t pretend that you’re doing this for me. You’re just upset that dad left you for another woman and now you’re taking it out on me!”
Huffing from my outburst I jam my earbuds in and blast my music so I wouldn’t have to hear her response.
By the time we pull into Camp Pine’s parking lot the morning mist is pierced by rays of sunlight giving the landscape an ethereal glow. Mom stops in the unloading area and I hop out and look around. I can see a few other cars in the lot, some empty and others with people still unloading things.
I grab my bag from the car and throw it over my shoulder when Mellany calls from the trunk, “Hey Matt, come help me carry my bags.” Turning I see her struggling to pull two suitcases behind her while carrying two giant purses in her arms.
Before I can go back and help her, a guy in a bright yellow shirt walks over from one of the other cars unloading. Flashing a sheepish smile at Mellany he reaches out his hand, “I can help you with your bags?”
Raising an eyebrow Mellany lets go of the two suitcases and pushes a strand of hair out of her face, “Don’t drop those whatever you do, my life is in those bags.”
“Kids, come over we need to get you signed in.” Mom calls over to us from the sign-in booth.
Mellany nods and quickly makes her way over to mom while the guy in the yellow shirt struggles to pull the giant suitcases across the dirt parking lot. Coming up behind him I take one of them from him, “Here man let me get that before you spill something and she kills us both.”
Nodding gratefully he grabs the remaining suitcase with both hands and we follow behind my sister. Reaching the sign-in booth we both gratefully put down the suitcases, wiping his sweaty hands on his shorts, yellow shirt puts his hand out.
“I’m Jack,” he says breathlessly, “I don’t recognize you guys, first year at camp?” He says as I shake his hand.
“Yup, our mom is making us go.” I respond giving a small nod toward where my mother stands laughing with the adult sitting at the booth.
“Well it’s your lucky day that you met me then,” he says, showing me a bracelet on his wrist, “See these charms, each one shows a year at camp, I’ve been here five years so I’m kind of a big deal.”
Before I can respond someone calls for Jack from the parking lot. “Oh, shit sorry I gotta finish unloading. I’ll see you guys around.” He says glancing at Mellany hoping she would notice.
She continues to stare down at her phone not even hearing a word he says. Shoulders slumping slightly, Jack turns and heads back the way we came. I shake my head at his attempt to try and impress Mellany, she would easily crush him like she did every boy she meets.
I turn and walk over to the sign-in table where my mom is still laughing with the man sitting there. Seeing me approach mom stifles her laughter and says, “Yes, John this is my son Matt and over there the young woman on her phone is my daughter Mellany. They’re joining the camp this summer, kids this is John Mayard the camp leader.”
Standing up he takes my hand in his and gives a firm shake, “Ah yes, Mellany and Matt you’re the last campers to check in, welcome.” He says pleasantly.
Mom looks down at her watch and gasps, “Oh my, I’m going to be late for my interview. I love you guys, remember to write when you can.” She gives me and Mellany a quick hug before she turns and heads back to the car.
I watch her leave until the car vanishes around a bend in the road. It’s official I’m going to be stuck here all summer instead of having fun with my friends in Italy.
Mr. Mayard grabs his folders and waves Mellany and I over, “Let me show you guys the camp, it might not look like much but I promise you’re going to have the best summer of your lives!”
Yah I doubt that.