There is something your mother did a long time ago that is not sitting well. I didn’t know her. I never met her. I don’t you think you ever talked about her, but really, how cool was it to talk about your mom during sleep-away camp?
You were pale and thin, and seemed born with dark circles under your eyes. It wasn’t from staying up too late — though you did. It wasn’t from insomnia — which you may have suffered from. It was from staring, but I’ll get to that in a second.
You had this desire of being smarter than everyone. Of course you were smart, and each kid has their secret power and yours was the mind. You thought like an adult at the age of twelve, and when your father passed away you left camp. You took your pictures, your poster, your flashlight, your sleeping bag. The sheets on your bed came off. I’d like to say we left it like that. The empty bed. A reminder of you, and the pain and loss you were dealing with. But Jeremy Rosenblatt grabbed your spot saying “Fuck him, he’s not coming back.” Which we thought was funny at the time. Except when you actually did come back.
Do you remember when we used to play ‘How Smart Are You?’ You asked people questions about a given subject and ultimately you’d reveal the persons lack of knowledge on the subject they claimed was their favorite? That was a great game. Good times.
You’d start keenly and ask the player what his/her favorite subject was; then systematically ask easy (first), than harder than expert questions on the subject and it always ended with you saying “you don’t really know anything about what you consider your favorite subject.” Ha.
Do you remember when you did it to me? You asked me what my favorite subject was and I said “Spelling,” which got a laugh cause apparently ‘spelling’ isn’t a subject. Funny, cause I was in grade school at the time and ‘spelling’ was one of my classes. In fact, I had a purple binder that said ‘spelling’ on it. And guess what? That’s where I put my spelling assignments, you fuck. You fucking know-it-all little shit. Remember four years later in Pioneers when we drove you out of your mind by singing your favorite Pink Floyd song and changing the lyrics that essentially highlighted how weird, creepy, demented, and deformed you look, and you got so mad you claimed you’d blow up the camp and then pulled out your little dynamite and we didn’t believe you and said it’s real, and we laughed in your deformed face while you threatened to blow up the camp and we laughed in your demented face and you said it’s real, and we laughed in your pathetic puny framed face and you bolted out the tent, put the dynamite on a rock, picked up another rock, smashed it against the dynamite, but nothing happened—and we fucking died laughing and a single tear ran down your freakish shark-like shiny face and you picked up the rock again and we laughed harder because you weren’t giving up and you threw the rock back down and an explosion shot a piece of debris which hit me in the lower eye, and all of us had ringing in our ears and I could see you mouthing words to me, you were speaking, but I couldn’t hear anything, but it looked like you were saying “what do I do” and I told you “run.”
Well, hey. Old news. Old hats.
You came back in two days, not a full weekend had gone by, and you told Jeremy Rosenblatt to ‘stick’ and he felt bad for you, and I remember you putting up your pictures, poster, your sheets, and your sleeping bag. You put your flashlight back in the same spot, right between your sneakers, and your canteen. You seemed annoyed at having to do work you already did.
How was it, R?
Fine. We buried him.
Are you okay?
I’m here aren’t I?
Can’t argue with that.