My father drove me to camp. My mother couldn’t drive, and someone had to stay home with Pete and Sarah. And it was easier going with my father. He didn’t notice that I was nervous, so I could tell myself that nobody else would notice. We drove past a marsh with twisted cedar trees growing in it and a bird soaring over it, high and lonesome—an osprey, probably, because of the long wings. That was a good sign.
“It’s good to see you looking so pleased.” my father said. “Some people would be nervous, but you’re always been so confident. Just like your mother.”
“It sounds like fun.” I said. “Hiking, and canoeing, and fern identification, and other people who want to learn about nature...” I sounded fake too, like a dumbed-down version of the Conservation Leadership Camp brochure. He didn’t seem to notice.
We got there five minutes before registration opened. That suited me. For one thing, there was just time for me to get my stuff out of the car before my father’s favorite news-quiz show came on the radio, so he would probably be willing to say good-bye quickly and then drive home.
As I threw my rucksack onto my back, I noticed a girl running towards us. She was perhaps two years older than me, with long, tanned legs in cutaway shorts and a cute, tight-fitting camp tee shirt. I noticed my dad staring, open-mouthed.
"Hi!" she shouted, out of breath, as she reached the car. "I'm one of the camp counselors." She tucked a strand of soft, blond hair behind one ear and smiled. "Don't worry, sir, I'll be taking real good care of your son." She bent over and picked up my heavy duffel bag, then grabbed my hand. "Come on, let's find a bed for you. My name's Fern."
I was identifying already.
Opening: Joanna Hoyt.....Continuation: Anon.