My mom and I interacted with each other again three days before the camp. She questioned me where I was going after seeing me packing my things in a duffel bag.
I told her I signed myself up in a camping program at school. Surprised, she offered me a ride to the campsite. I agreed, just thought it’s better to be silent with her inside the car instead of getting in the school bus full of undomesticated, dysfunctional students.
“Ellie, hurry!” my mom screamed from downstairs. “It’s a two hours or more drive depending on the traffic to get to the campsite. We will get you some lunch too!”
“Yeah, wait up!” I hurriedly buckle my belt in my jumper shorts and put on my flannel, grab my duffel bag and head downstairs.
Along my way outside, I carry my converse on my other hand and tiptoed bare feet towards my mom. She took the duffel bag from me and demanded me to go inside the passenger seat to wear my shoes as she threw the duffel bag in the backseat.
“You forgot nothing?” she asked me as she sat in the driver’s seat, buckling her seat belt.
“Nothing,” I said and put on my seat belt too after I got my shoelaces done.
We went to In N Out drive-thru to order us some fries and iced tea to eat along the way and a double-double with fries and a bottle of water for my lunch at the campsite. After that, we hit the road to the campsite.
We’ve been driving for one and a half hours in my mom’s mini cooper. According to the Waze, we still have an hour and a half to get to our destination and two if the traffic worsens. It’s already nine o’clock in the morning and the call time for the camping assembly is before twelve in the afternoon.
The daylight hit the car’s windshield and both my mom and I put down the car’s sun visor. I lean on my seat, staring out at the piled up cars because of traffic while sipping on my iced tea.
Maybe this is a sign for me to back out of this. That signing myself up to a stupid camp is just a poor decision I made because I was mad and ****. This was it, I should just stay at home and make up with my mom.
Yet, as much as I want to make up with my mom and build a healthy relationship with her. I can’t bear to stay even a minute in my house without thinking of running away, disappearing, or doing impetuous actions that will make our relationship much worse.
I set away my concerns and asked my mom, “Are we going to make it there before twelve?”
“Yeah, of course.” My mom said, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel.
After thirty minutes, the mini cooper is on the run. As mom speeds up, the faster the commercial buildings and boutique shops are fading, replacing it with trees, woods, and a lot of green stuff everywhere I look. And though the scene is calming to my eyes, my heart beats much faster as how my mom is driving the mini Cooper right now.
I don’t know if I am getting nervous because of my mom’s speed or the change of the scenery or is it because as my mom hits the gas its speed increases as the time for us to reach the campsite is decreasing and all I want to do is switch seats with her, turn the steering wheel of the car back to our house and wrapped myself in my blanket in my room.
But as for what they say. There is no turning back. And if there is turning back, I can’t argue again with mom for wanting to go back to our house when we just got here because I am a chicken head who can’t face the consequences of my poor and impulsive decision making in life.
The car turned left on a road that seems to go upward and surrounded by trees. My mom then again turned left and just straight ahead are parked school buses, minivans, and cars a
The car halted among the parked vehicles and not far away I saw an archway made of woods written above it, “Welcome to Camp Citadel” and kids coming out from the vehicles enter and pass through the archway.
There was silence inside the mini Cooper as I tapped my feet simultaneously and chewed my nails, staring out at the road beyond this campsite, wondering if we passed through that it will be welcome to the Osborne household again.
But, sadly, in reality, it’s not. The only authentic thing right now in front of me is the ******* name of a campsite above the wooden archway.
“Ellie? Blythe, honey. We’re here.” My mom must have seen my anxious actions and blurted this out.
Before I shut my mom out of my life, I have always been an impulsive ***** my entire life ever since dad died.
Last year I was at my worst and can be awarded as the “Worst Daughter of the Year.” I was angry and sad and did things without thinking and because of that, there is no single day in our house that me and my mom shouts at each other.
Admitting, I am still that impulsive daughter I am right now, but as much as possible, I am keeping myself away from arguing with her. And throughout all the arguments I’ve had with my mom, after we shout at each other, I always notice she walks by the local park and smokes cigarettes.
“Mom, why do you smoke every after we argue with each other?” my mom fell silent and must have been shocked at how random the question was.
“What?” I did not answer, and she sighed. “It’s because it keeps me calm.” she continued.
“Yeah, that’s great. Is it okay if I can smoke just today? Not going to lie, I am not the calmest person right now.” I said, cracking my knuckles.
“Ellie, we can just go back if you like.” Exactly, mom, that’s what I wanted to hear and wanted to do the most right now. Yet, my mouth betrayed my mind.
“No, it’s okay. Just give me a minute.” I let out a breath and ate all the remaining fries and drank and emptied my mom’s iced tea. I opened the passenger seat door and set my feet on the campsite grounds.
My mom followed me outside the car and dropped my duffel bag beside me.
“Are you sure you will be okay?” I nod. “You want me to stay until you get comfortable?” I shake my head. “Alright then, here.” She handed me a three-hundred-dollar for pocket money. I look at her.
“Mom, I think this is too much for three-day camping. And they provide us with meals except for today’s lunch.” I took out the two-hundred-dollars and gave it back to her.
“Keep it. Just have fun. Okay?” She kissed me on the forehead and waved goodbye at me before driving away.
I watch my mom drive away the mini cooper, making the car disappear from my sight. Part of me wanted to run, jump on the passenger seat and turn my back from all of this when I saw a familiar car pass by me.
It was a Toyota Century. I know anyone can have a car the same as the cousins but it gave me hope in my gut that the cousins could be here and maybe my decision of joining this activity and rejecting my mom’s offer to turn back and go home would be worth it. But then, why on earth would they be here?
The first thing you will see at the campsite are the cabins that are about twenty aligned at the right and left side. The right side for the girls and left for the boys. There are four distinct colors of flags planted on each roof of the cabin. Blue, green, yellow, and red.
I looked around me to look for a familiar face from school; I did see some actually, but I consider none of them as someone who talks to me or even knows me and worst is that my eyes laid on a guy with inky hair and well-built body, eyes glaring at me. It was Ace and his teammates.
My God! Signing myself up here is maybe one of the worst impulsive things I have ever done my whole life.
Ace caught my eyes and immediately motioned his teammates towards me.
I slammed my duffel bag to the ground and crack my knuckles, getting ready for some **** to happen when a guy wearing khaki shorts and a dress shirt whose sleeves are rolled up to his elbow blocked Ace’s way. It was a few seconds, and Luna popped out in front of the guy’s back.
My eyes lit up and though as if my hope had become as bright as the sun that was hitting me when I saw Luna with her beaming smile. As soon as Luna was right in front of me, we both screamed each other’s names at the same time.
“Luna! Gosh, I am so glad you are here?” I said to her, and Luna hugged me.
“Me too!” she squeals.
“How are you doing, Ellie Blythe?” I broke into Luna’s hug to see the guy who blocked Ace.
“I am fine now, William,” I replied to him.
“Glad you are. Here.” he threw a bottle of lemonade to Luna and me and we both caught it. “Freshen up,” he said, drinking his lemonade battle.
Before Luna and I can take a sip on our lemonade bottle, a loudspeaker blasted throughout the campsite with a woman’s voice.
“Welcome, Campers! Please gather at the Common Grounds at the end of the aligned cabins for your orientation and assigned cabins. Thank you and wishing you all a great stay at Camp Citadel!”
The three of us walked to the end of the cabins. The Common Grounds’ length is from the right side of the cabins up to its left. It’s a spacious area where there are log chairs and picnic tables.
The cousins and I sat at one of the picnic tables as we waited for further announcements on the loudspeaker. I looked around me. There are about thirty or forty people in the Common Grounds, some I’ve seen in school, some are unfamiliar.
“I thought our school is the only one who will camp for the next three days,” I said, wiping the sweat on my forehead with the back of my hands.
“We thought so too,” William said.
“By the way, what are you two doing here? I just don’t picture the two of you as a camping type of people.” I looked at Luna, who just finished gulping her lemonade.
“So are you, you’re not the type of person who will go to such a place,” Luna replied.
“Well, we get bored too, especially when you ain’t got nothing better to do in a gigantic house,” Luna said.
Not long, we sight a blonde woman wearing khaki shorts and a blue polo shirt standing on one of the log chairs with a megaphone on her hand facing the cabins.
“Pleasant day, Campers. I am Angela Citadel, the daughter of the founder of this campsite, and I will be the overall head of this campsite for the next three days. Now, we have four distinct groups inside the campsite and the flags planted on each roof of the cabin will be the only cabins of the group whose colors correspond to it. Each group has an authorized head assigned to their cabin. I will call the names of each group and assign a color and will line up to the authorized head who holds the color of your group…”
The authorized heads raise the color of the flags assigned to them. The group with the blue flag is the group of “The Power House Rehabilitation for the Youth of the Bright Future,” the red ones are the “Sacred Heart Homephanage”, The yellow ones are our school and the green ones are the “Wanderers” it’s what the camp called the people who are from the outside of the city. The groups formed their line according to their colors by two, one for girls, one for boys.
Before our authorized head named Lisa gathered us on one porch among the cabins, she gave us a paper about the camp house rules. She called out a name in groups of five who will be at the same cabin. Luna and I are together in the same cabin.
“Now you all know your cabin mates. Follow me to your designated cabins. After that, you will have your lunch at the dining hall. Just straight ahead from the Common Grounds and turn right. There’s a pathway you will not get lost. You have ten minutes to prepare yourselves. Be at the dining by twelve-ten.”
There are four long dining tables at the dining hall that stand one meter apart from the door up to one meter apart, also from the kitchen. William was already sitting when we got there and had saved us some seats in front of him. We are seated at the fourth table.
The three of us shared our delicacies with each other. I sliced my double-double in three as they gave me part of their beef enchiladas and tacos wrapped in lettuce.
We still have twenty minutes left for eating and we are already full. We took this as an advantage to rest in our seats. I and Luna are quietly resting on our seats whilst William keeps on blabbering about how small his bed was. Luna got ****** and told him how spoiled ass William is. They exchange verbal fights and I just watch them amused.
I was about to call their fight off when I glimpsed someone familiar to me across table three. I eyed the guy carefully as he seemed to look for someone inside the dining hall.
Moments flash into my eyes and I remembered where I met him. I gasped and hid at the back of Luna. Both gave me a questioning look.
“What happened?” Luna asked.
“It’s him.” I peeked through Luna’s shoulders and pointed at the guy with curly black hair at table three.
Luna looked in the direction where I was pointing my fingers at and William did the same over his shoulders.
“He was the boy I threw milk at.”
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Kyla BaxterSep 9, 2021
I love this!!! It is fabulous!! Great writing!!
gurlcynicalOct 10, 2021
OMG thank you so muchh!! <3