When I thought about how I was going to spend the summer after my Senior year, I thought about traveling to the beach and spending my days on the soft, white sand. I dreamt of shopping in the afternoons and partying with my friends at night. My freshman year of college is close, so I thought only of having the time of my life the summer before I had to return to the reality of school. Instead, I'm here, fat camp.
What else could I do? Weight loss has always been tough for me, and there was no way that I could lounge on the beach with my body the way it is now. I couldn't buy cute clothes that would cover what I didn't want shown. And partying, well, that would just make me gain even more weight.
In the end, I knew that my best bet to having a happy life away at college, was to lose weight and to learn to be happy with myself first. Even though I was probably going to hate going away to camp when I was eighteen and leaving all my friends behind, I could make it work. I could come back home a completely new person and leave for college without being worried about how I looked.
The toughest part so far had been waking up early enough to catch the bus to South Carolina. I wasn't in the mood to deal with the random chatty passengers I was sure to encounter. All I wanted to do was drag myself back home, crawl under my covers, and pretend that I was 115 pounds and completely oblivious to what calories and carbs could do. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen.
At 8:15, I boarded the bus that would take me to a little stretch of road right on the outskirts of Camp Cara.
Camp Cara was named after the owners late wife, who had been burdened with a weight problem also. It was located on the coast of South Carolina and practically in the middle of no where. Most camps at least have a town nearby for emergency's, but not this place. It barely had a lake and the ocean was off limits to the younger campers. Hopefully, I wasn't considered a younger camper. That would just make things worse.
I keep complaining about going away to this camp, but really, I'm glad I got the chance to go. People say that the campers and counselors you go to camp with become your family. I mean, I had a family of my own, but a bigger one wouldn't hurt. And meeting new people and becoming fast friends had always been my thing.
When the bus pulled up to the station, I was kinda freaked. One of the head counselors was supposed to be meeting me, but looking around, I didn't see anyone who looked like they worked at a camp. No one in a weird collard shirt and khaki shorts. Everyone was rushing over to their families or friends or walking down the road. And here I was, just standing with my bags around me and a frown on my face. I'm sure the counselor couldn't WAIT to walk over to me.
Fortunately, she finally did. But, the woman wasn't a counselor, she was a nurse. Her white shorts and shirt with a red medical emblem on them proved so.
"Honey, honey, excuse me." she said, waddling up to me. "I'm looking for a camper. A Lorelai Wade?"
Man, she was even more country than I was. "That's me." I told her, dropping a bag and sticking out my hand.
"You?" she questioned, ignoring my request for a handshake. "Honey, you don't need to be going to a fat camp!"
I looked down at myself and raised my eyebrows. Who the heck was she looking at?
"Well, come on." she said, picking up one of my bags. "I'm Mrs. Fellows and our little camp is over an hour away by car, so we better get a move on."
So apparently, she was the camp nurse. At least I knew if I needed a band aid or a pack of ice, she would be there to help.
She walked away and headed for the smallest car I'd ever seen that was parked down the street. Did she honestly expect me, her, and all my bags to fit in that little thing? This woman was off her rocker.
"Lorelai?" she called back.
"Coming!" I shouted, hitching my luggage onto my shoulder.
This was going to be quite an experience.
"This is the camp?" I asked incredulously, when we pulled up.
The first thing I noticed was that I was surrounded by trees. The only hint of a building I saw was a few feet away with a sign that said Meeting Hall. It was a large, but run-down log cabin with smudged glass windows and splatters of red paint. The front door was barely on the hinges and the steps looked mighty dangerous. Bushes hid the bottom of the place and the grass around it hadn't been cut, probably, since I had been born.
I couldn't believe it. If I was paying good money to attend a fat camp, shouldn't the place at least look nice? I would rather go to jail.
"This is the place!" Mrs. Fellows said cheerily. "It's not much to look at, but we love it all the same."
"Oh, really?" I muttered, staring at the meeting hall.
"Follow me, honey. I'll take you to your cabin. There aren't many people here, so you'll have your privacy, but know that the people that are here are very open, so they probably will want you to be too."
"You know a lot about the people here?" I asked.
"Oh, yes." she replied. "I've been the nurse here ever since Camp Cara opened."
"And you don't look a day over ninety." I said quietly.
"What?" Mrs. Fellows asked.
"Nothing." I responded, shaking my head.
I stumbled along after her, through the trees, until we came to a small cabin; cabin thirteen. Thirteen? Isn't that number supposed to be bad luck? Of course I was stuck in this cabin.
I felt uneasy going up the rickety steps, but managed to get inside without dropping to my death from the porch. The interior of the cabin was much better than the outside. There were two beds on each side wall and a door that led to the bathroom in the back. Nothing was painted, but the wooden furniture and old carpets gave the place a nice, homey feel.
There was only one other girl in the cabin. She sat up straight on her bed when we walked in and threw her magazine to the side. She was a little heavier than me, but pretty. Her blonde hair was in a loose ponytail and she smiled brightly when Mrs. Fellows introduced me.
"Jade, meet your new roommate, Lorelai."
"Hi!" she cried, jumping up and coming over to shake my hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"You too." I replied, grinning back at her. Thank the Lord I wasn't rooming with some girl who had no personality or self esteem just because of her looks. I could see this chick was going to be easy to live with. As far as I could tell, she kept the place clean and read good magazines.
"I love DETAILS." I told her, tossing my bags next to a bed. "I know it's a mens magazine, but the guys on the cover always look amazing."
"Tell me about it!" she said, walking back to sit down. "I wanna be on it just to see how great they could make me."
I laughed and looked around the room. "Is this bed okay?" I asked, pointing to the farthest in the back, diagonal from hers.
"That will be fine." Mrs. Fellows interrupted, jiggling the change in her pocket. "Orientation is in ten minutes, so get to the meeting hall by then."
She turned towards the door and pushed it open. "Goodbye dears!" she called, letting the screen slam behind her.
"What a weirdo." Jade said, when the woman was out of ear-shot.
"I know, right?" I replied. "I thought maybe it was just me, but she is kind of strange."
"She's always been like that." Jade told me, returning to her magazine. "I've been here for three years and she's never changed."
"Three years?" I asked. "How could you possibly survive three years in this place."
"I love it." she said simply. "It doesn't seem like it at first, but it really is a great camp. Besides everything being hidden by trees and how far away it is from society, this place becomes like a home. I always hate to leave it."
"Home sweet home." I mumbled, dropping down onto my new bed. "Do we really have to go to this orientation thing?"
"Hmm, you're not one of those lazy campers, are you?" she questioned.
"On the contrary." I said. "I'm just not very good in situations where I could get bored."
"Don't worry." she responded. "It will be over before you know it and we will be chowing down on lunch."
"If you say so." I replied.
We were quiet after that, for a few minutes at least. It's always a little awkward meeting someone for the first time and then being thrust into being alone with them. I didn't doubt that, eventually, we would be talking like old friends, the way things turn out with everyone I meet, but right now, neither of us seemed to know what to say.
I stood up and started to unpack the few things I had in one of the smaller bags I'd brought, but I was done in two minutes flat. I sat down on my bed and fiddled with the edge of the mattress, debating as to whether or not I should go ahead and put my sheets on it.
Suddenly, with a big smile on her face, Jade leaned towards me. "Wanna know a secret?" she asked.
"A secret?" I repeated. "We've known each other for five minutes and we're already sharing secrets?"
"Well, this is not too much of a secret." she said. "It's more of a fact. We are really the only two teenage girl campers here so I might as well let you in on a little something."
"Alright. Lay it on me."
Jade scooted to the end of her bed and leaned even more towards me eagerly. "If there's one thing about this camp I know your gonna like, it's Samuel."
"Samuel?" I asked. "Is he another camper?"
"Nope." she replied, shaking her head. "Samuel Nova. He's the athletic instructor."
The athletic instructor? That meant one thing: perfect body. Yeh, I was pretty sure I was going to like this guy.
"He's the best." Jade continued. "He's four years older than me, but that doesn't mean I can't look. I'm telling you, amazing body and personality. A smile to end all smiles, not that he ever shows it, and a little bit of a mystery to us campers."
"So, he's twenty-two?" I guessed.
"Twenty-one." Jade corrected me. "I'm only seventeen."
"Ah." I replied. "Twenty-one. Not bad. Is he going to be at the orientation?"
"Most likely." she said, smiling. "He also kind of the right hand man of Mr. Rollins, the owner."
"Well lets blow this joint!" I cried, standing up from my bed and walking towards the door.
I doubted that this guy was anything more than the jocks I was surrounded by back home, but it wouldn't hurt to take as look. At least I knew he could probably get me into shape.
"Excited now?" Jade joked.
"You got that right." I said. "Eye candy? How could I not be excited?"
"Hey, this guy is more than eye candy." she told me. "Just you wait and see. We're joking about it now, but in a week, you'll be falling all over him just like the rest of the girls here, and some of the guys."
I laughed and followed Jade out of the cabin. "Don't hold your breath."