The Small Things - -9- the camp pt one - Page 6 (2024)


I bumped fists with Joni before heading back to the other side of the bonfire where I discovered that Olivia had multiplied. I had to remind myself that she had a twin, and she wasn't just a reflection. She introduced me to Charlotte the twin, and Lizzie provided me the makings of a s'more. We roasted marshmallows on the fire and laughed at the guys who were making a mess of themselves over a marshmallow on fire that refused to be snuffed out. Eventually one of the teachers dumped their water bottle and that was that.

Throughout the bonfire time, I kept my eyes on Bluebell and her group of friends that were expanding by the minute. She could mingle smoothly between the guys and the girls because, as I'd began to realize, they all had a spark in them that was different from me, from Joni, from Lizzie.

She was a people person and a people pleasure. She made people want to be like her because she grew up by manipulating. She could compliment someone and make them feel like a thousand bucks, but she could also insult them and gain an equally prominent opposite effect.

I sat there in the grass and curled my knees up to my chest after witnessing Ryan, Duncan, and Brock hanging out with guys from the Joshua elementary school who'd grown fond of Bluebell's group of straight-haired girls. Would that be Fynn over there if he was still here?

I didn't want to think about it.

Thinking about him made me sick to my stomach, because had I been at home tonight, I'd probably be typing away on my computer with an arm around Puck and an unfinished book Joni lent me on my bed.

I didn't want to think that Fynn was in middle school now having to find which group he fit with best. My mind was gradually growing cynical at the thought of school without Fynn and school with Fynn, and all the things that could have happened and never had the chance to. A small part of me was grateful that Fynn never went to middle school with me, and that's mainly because it was where the potential cliques in elementary school started to take form, and everyone had to mold to one or the other or risk being outcasted into the miscellaneous group. The truth was this simple: school was the place where lookalikes and like-minded people gravitated towards one another, and it was mandatory and unavoidable. While I understood the premise of this camping trip, I felt strongly that this was the root where all the cliques began.

That night we gathered in the common area with the fireplace on and stacks of cards piled on the floor. We played one intense game of spoons after another, we played BS, we even played a random game called MOW that Lizzie's mom made up. Bluebell and her bunk room were the first to crash for the night, but we knew they hadn't fallen asleep because we could hear them giggling in the other room and talking about whatever.

"How was today for you girls?" Lizzie's mom asked, organizing her hand before playing her card.

"Fine. This kid named Zack almost ate a worm," Lizzie said.

"Oh yeah! I saw that. I'm concerned for his parents. Your turn, Skye," her mom declared. I hummed thoughtfully and decided upon my card, slapping it onto the pile. "Tomorrow morning after breakfast we'll be going out for a swim if we're lucky—it might rain but we'll see."

"Cool. I think if it rains we should still go," Olivia said. "Pass."

Yui went through her cards then and picked her's out without a word. Lizzie gave her a weird look, like she wasn't exactly sure whether or not to trust Yui--for all we knew, she could be kicking our butts at this game.

"I think we should go now," she stated simply. "Who cares if we get suspended; I wanna go swimming."

"Suspend my ass we aren't going swimming now--pardon my language," her mom said. "Sometimes it just slips."

"I don't mind," I admitted. So long as I wasn't the one swearing, I was pretty chill about it.

"Phew, good. I thought maybe you'd find me irresponsible. I'd never be able to chaperone again," she said, laughing as Lizzie rolled her eyes and giggled. "Uno!"

"Dang it! Someone gag my mom so I can win!" she cried out, the pace of the game picking up instantaneously. It turned crazy as the suspense built with each turn, and as the number of Yui's cards decreased, and the favors began to turn on her, then me, then Lizzie's mom again. Eventually, Lizzie and Olivia were practically tearing their hair out until Lizzie roared loudly and flipped the deck of cards into the air with a maniacal laugh. "52 card pick up!"


"I win!"

"No you don't! The game doesn't exist anymore!"

We laughed for what felt like hours until my stomach couldn't take it anymore. Lizzie's mom hyped us up on sugar so when one person crashed, we all crashed. It was so late by the time we actually went to bed, mumbling in our bunks stupid jokes and contemplating life, that if Bluebell really did plan on sneaking out that night, she would have been out cold by the time she had the chance to actually do so.

The Small Things - -9- the camp pt one - Page 6 (2024)


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