The Joy in Boredom 12 DJ Corisis

The Joy in Boredom

"Mom, I'm bored." Steven complained.

"We haven't even gotten to our camp site yet and you're complaining." His mom said.

"But we go on this trip every year! All we do is sit around all day, talk, and try to fish."

"You ride your bike to dear…"

"Yea, with nowhere to go."

"Well, maybe there will be something new this year! There's that cool gift shop you always visit, remember?"

"Yea, I remember. It's run by the crazy old lady who yells at you to buy something and get out."

Steven stared out of the window of the speeding car, as he and his family headed to their destination; the Washington coast, their yearly camping destination.

"We've gone to this place every year of my seventeen year old life…" Steven muttered to himself, "is it too much to ask for a change in plans?"

"We're almost there honey, start cleaning up your seat." Stevens's mother said. Steven did as he was told and packed away his many forms of entertainment he brought on every trip.

"Look, there's our campsite!" the father called out to his passengers.

"Can I sleep out in a tent this year mommy?" Steven's little sister asked.

"We'll see dear…" she said, knowing full well the answer would be no.

The family pulled into the camp site, setting up the trailer for the parents and Steven's sister, and the tent for Steven.

"Now what?" Steven asked coldly, sitting in a chair around the fire pit.

"Why don't you take your sister to the store dear? See if they have any new candy to buy."

"It's kind of hard to choose when you have an old lady yelling at you, Mom." Steven said, taking his little sisters hand and leading her to the main road towards the shop.

"No! I want to ride my bike there!" she said.

"The bikes aren't even out yet." He said back.

"Well you can get them out cant you Steven?" his little sister asked with expectance in her voice. Steven sighed and went around to the back of the trailer and untied the group of dusty bicycles. He and his sister both mounted their own bicycle, and rode slowly to the shop, Steven having to wait for his little sister to catch up.

The two siblings pulled up the shop and parked their bikes in the bike rack, the little sister running up the wooden steps to the door and Steven following slowly after her. He entered the shop, knowing already that the only thing good enough to buy was his usual hot chocolate with whip cream and chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

Steven was expecting to hear the crabby voice of the old lady, who had run the shop every other year, but this time he heard a softer, more soothing and sweet voice.

"Hi there! Can I get you anything?" the voice said.

Steven looked up, surprised. There wasn't an old lady behind the counter, but a young girl!

"U-um, could I get a hot chocolate?" he managed to stutter in his surprise. The girl smiled and said,

"Sure thing! One moment please…" she turned her back to Steven and started working on a drink machine in the corner of the store.

"Steven, Steven! Can I get these candies?" his little sister ran up to Steven asking, holding large fistfuls of candy bars.

"Only one sis…" he said, trying to sound nicer than he normally was to his little sister for the girl behind the counter.

The girl returned carrying Steven's hot chocolate. She set it on the counter and asked,

"Is this all?"

"I think she's still trying to make up her mind…" Steven said in reply, pointing to his sister in the back of the small store.

"Oh, I know how that can be." She said with a cheerful smile.

"I don't remember ever seeing you working here before…"

"I haven't… my grandparents run the store. But my parents said that it was time for me to get a job, so here I am!" she leaned on the counter, playing with a sucker she pulled from a small tub.

Regaining his composer, Steven was finally able to look the girl in the eyes and not turn away at the first moment. She was about his height, with brownish-hazel eyes, and long sandy blonde hair with curls at the ends. She even looked to be about his age. He took the chance when she looked away to shake out his matted black hair and move it away from his eyes.

"So are you here long?" the girl asked.

"For about three weeks." Steven groaned.

"STEVEN! I can't decide what to get!" his little sister called.

"Just pick the Reeses!" he called back.

The girl stared at him for a moment, and then said, "My names Gloria." She stuck out her hand across the counter for him to shake.

He took her hand and said, "I'm—"

"STEVEN! How do you spell Reeses?! I can't find them!"

The two teens laughed, and Gloria said, "Steven, I've heard." They smiled at each other for a split moment, and then he remembered his little sister.

"They're the orange wrappers sis." He said.

"O—oh, ok!" she called, grabbing something off the shelf and hurriedly running back to the counter.

Gloria rang the two items up, and said, "That'll be three dollars and twenty five cents." Steven handed her the money, and after receiving his change, opened the door for his little sister, and waved good bye to his new friend, smiling the entire way back to camp.

"Why are you so happy all of the sudden?" his mother inquired back at camp.

"He got his hot chocolate!" his little sister piped.

"It's so good I think I might have to get one every day we're here." He said, smiling.

As Steven had said, day after day he rode to the store to purchase a hot chocolate, staying usually for ten minutes talking to Gloria, but extending it to sometimes even half an hour to an hour!

"You sure are spending a lot of time at that store…" his father said to him one night around the camp fire.

"It's a good place to keep out of the wind…" he said as an excuse.

"I haven't seen that old woman around lately… is she still working there?"

"No, they replaced her."

"This isn't so bad of trip is it?"

Steven smiled and said, "It's turning out to be one of the best ever."

"Brother!" His sister called, running out to him from the trailer, "can we get up early tomorrow and go look for seashells on the beach? Ple—ease?" she cried.

Steven groaned, but his father said, "take your sister out tomorrow morning… you'll only sleep in anyway. Show her some fun." Steven agreed, and he went to bed early, knowing the early start that awaited him.

As predicted, his little sister bounded into his tent an hour earlier than needed, and forced him out of bed with incessant begging. Steven arose, and after drearily getting dressed and grabbing a bucket, led his sister to the beach.

"The water is so far away!" she cried when she saw it.

"It's because of the tide." He informed. He looked down the way to see if the rocks near the sea cliffs had been cleared, and to his surprise saw another person walking on the beach, wearing a flower in her hair and wearing a white sundress.

"Gloria?" he whispered to himself, "hey, I'll bet there are tons of shells down by those cliffs and rocks over there sis!" he said, trying to merge paths with the girl.

"Really?! Let's go!" the young girl said, running down the sand towards the mythical shells.

As he neared the girl in the sundress, he heard a sweet voice call out, "Steven? Is that you?"



"What are you doing out here so early?! I don't see a little sibling with you looking for shells!"

"I'm doing this for the store! Do you think those bins of seashells just appear? I'm out here collecting them almost every morning, my grandmas gotten too old to do it for herself now."

"Do you need some help?"

"Shouldn't you help your sister?"

"She's got enough energy to supply five guys my size." He joked.

Gloria laughed and moved a strand of hair out of her face, "I wouldn't mind your help then."

The two walked together, picking up the shells along the way, and trying to keep pace with Steven's little sister. They soon arrived at the sea cliffs, and found there to be countless shells among the rocks and boulders strewn about.

"I'll start down there, and you start here, and we'll meet up in the middle, ok?" Gloria suggested.

"Deal," Steven said, and he started on his task, keeping close watch over his sister the entire time, "I have to get her number before I leave for home…" he started to realize to himself, "but I've never asked for a girl's number before! Much less one that I get along with so much, like Gloria!" Thoughts such as these ran rampant through Steven's mind and he picked up shell after shell.

"Hey, Steven!" he heard Gloria call a few yards away, "come here for a second! There's a really nice conch that I can't reach!"

Steven jogged over to where she was standing, and saw her pointing down into a small depression made by the rocks.

"I think we could reach it if one of us held onto the other while they reached out for it."

"O-ok," Steven said, nervously, "do you want to reach for it?"

"Sure! Don't let go." She said, smiling.

Steven, nervously, took hold of her hand and braced himself in the sand. He carefully lowered Gloria down into the depression, watching for when to pull her up.

"I got it! Pull me up!" she called. Steven backed away slowly, using all his strength to help pull Gloria out of the hole while she braced herself against the side. She was pulled from the hole unharmed, but both of them continued to hold each other's hands. After a moment, both realized what was going on and quickly dropped each other's hands.

"T-that's a really nice shell you found." Steven tried to say.

Gloria giggled and said, "Thanks, it would have been tough without you."

"Steven, I'm co—old!" Steven heard his sister call behind him, "can we go back to camp now?"

"I guess I have to go…" Steven said to Gloria."

"Sometimes I'm glad that I'm an only child." Gloria joked.

"You got lucky. I'll see you later!" Steven called, walking away with his sister.

"Bye Steven!" Gloria called back.

Later that day, after Steven had taken a nap, he travelled to the store for his hot chocolate with whip cream and drizzled chocolate syrup.

"Long time no see!" Gloria said as he entered the store.

"Maybe I should help you collect shells everyday!" Steven joked, "It looked like you could use another hand… to collect shells, that is!" he said, correcting himself, hoping she hadn't thought of the prolonged hand holding. She only giggled and said, "Your normal hot chocolate for you?"

"Actually, I have something else to buy with it today." He said. He ran to one of the aisles, and returned with a conch shell.

"Hey! That's the shell we got earlier this morning!"

"I thought it might be a nice memento…" he said smiling, and he wasn't sure if he was blushing or not.

"Then your total today is three dollars even!" Steven paid for his belongings, but they still continued to talk. He learned that she didn't live far from him, and where she would one day like to go to college. They talked about what each other wanted to do for a living once on their own, and he learned that she wanted to be a marine biologist.

"So you actually get some enjoyment out of working here don't you?" Steven asked.

"I adore the ocean… It's my favorite place to be in the entire world." She said.

"That makes two of us… but up until this trip, I had never actually looked forward to coming here… there was really nothing to enjoy along with the ocean I guess…"

She smiled and said, "I know what you mean…"

"I actually wish that I didn't have to leave in a few days." He said, becoming down cast, his goal of asking for her phone number still uncompleted.

"You know, I was thinking about going out to collect shells again tonight so I wouldn't have to wake up early tomorrow if you want to help…" Gloria said, blushing slightly.

"I'll meet you out there!" Steven said, "My parents won't mind. They'll just be happy to see my doing something." Gloria laughed and said, "I'll meet you out by the cliffs then. The tides lowest about an hour before sunset."

The two friends said goodbye to each other and Steven headed back to camp, kicking himself for still not asking for her number. "I don't have long! After we leave, that's it! If I don't get her number, I'll never see her again." He scolded himself.

Later that night, armed now with a bucket and flash light, he met Gloria near the sea cliffs as she had said.

"You made it!" she cried joyfully.

"Of course!" the two friends began to walk to the boulders, looking for shells and each of them secretly looking for more hard to reach conches. To both of their surprise, their hands soon had fallen into each other, fingers interlaced.

"It looks like the tides starting to come back in…" Steven said.

"I guess we hadn't gotten out soon enough. Maybe I read the chart wrong…" Gloria admitted. A large wave soon came rolling towards them. Neither of them wanting to get their legs soaking wet in the cold water, Steven quickly suggested jumping onto a nearby rock.

He quickly leapt to the top, then got on his hands and knees and reached down to help Gloria to the top, pulling her up in time to miss the wave and it rushed past beneath her. He pulled her to the top, and both embraced each other so as to not lose balance, neither of them meaning to hold the other so close.

"T-thanks for helping me up…" Gloria said, looking up from the ocean below to Steven's eyes.

"Y-your welcome…" he said, staring back. Both of them were able to feel the others heart beat through their still embraced chests, each of them feeling the other quicken.

"Your eyes look really nice in the moon light…" Steven said.

Gloria giggled slightly and said, "The stores gunna be pretty boring after you leave Steven…"

"This entire trip would have been boring without you here…" he said, still gazing into her eyes. He cocked his head to look at the ocean below, noticing the tide was quickly rising. "this rock is pretty small isn't i—" he started to say, but when he brought his head back to look into Gloria's moon filled eyes, he found her head much closer than it had been. He gazed deeply into her eyes, noticing that he could feel the heat coming from the breaths from her lips, his head moving ever so slowly closer to hers. They both felt the others heart beats quick to an even faster pace, and finally, as they both closed their eyes, their lips made contact in the cool, oceanic night air. They held each other closer still, both enjoying their first kiss, and both knowing that it was meant to be their first.

A great wave broke on a large rock near the two embraced lovers, showering them in ocean spray, and shaking them from their kiss.

"W-we should get off this rock probably…" Gloria said dreamily. Steven looked around and said,

"After the next wave goes back out, we jump and make a run for the shore, ok?" The two smiled at each other, and releasing on another from the others tight embrace, they held hands and plunged into the shin deep ocean water below, holding hands and running for the shore.

They reached the shore, thankful that they had only gotten wet up to their knees. The two walked together to the main camp road holding hands, chatting and laughing, neither of them wanting the time together to end. Eventually, they parted ways, and both returned to where they were staying, looking forward to the next day when they would see each other.

The next morning, when Steven emerged from his tent, his mother came to him and said,

"Morning dear. I'm afraid I've got some bad news…well, good news for you I would suppose."

"What is it?" Steven asked.

"Your father got a call from work. He has to be back in the office, so we're going to have to leave today in order to make it there on time."

"W-what? No, no!" he cried out, distraught.

"Were you starting to enjoy yourself sweetie?" his mother asked, "I'm sorry… your father has to get to work though… don't worry, well plan plenty of other camping trips if you really want, ok?" she walked away to start her packing and find his little sister.

"I haven't gotten her number yet!" he said to himself, "I'll be right back ok, Mom?"

"Ok dear! Don't take long though! Your father needs your help."

Steven speed his bike to the store, promising himself that he would get her number before he left. She had connected with him more than any other girl ever came close to; he was determined not to let her go.

He flung the door open, startling Gloria behind the counter.

"Oh! Your earlier today! I know what you want, I'll have your hot chocolate ready in a second!" she said cheerfully.

"I'm leaving today Gloria…" he said, downcast.

"What? Why the sudden change in plans?" she asked, concerned, now saddened.

"My dad has to go back to work." He said somberly.

"Gloria!" a voice called from a back room of the store.

"Yes grandma?" Gloria called back, still stirring the hot chocolate mix in the machine.

"I need you! Whatever customer you are with can wait!"

"Just one minute grandma!" she called back.

"Gloria, there's been something that I have been meaning to ask you." Steven said, rushed.

"What is it?" Gloria asked, adding the whip cream to the hot chocolate now.

"Gloria!" her grandmother called again.

"One minute grandma!" she called back.

"Well, I was wondering—" He was interrupted.

Her grandmother stomped angrily into the room behind the counter and commanded, "Gloria, I need you. Come with me, now!" Gloria no longer had time to spare.

"Just let me finish this customer's order grandma!" she said, hurriedly drizzling chocolate syrup onto the whipped topping, her grandma holding her arm and pulling her away. Gloria quickly reached over and put the drink on the counter, calling, "I'm sorry Steven! You can just leave the money on the counter! Maybe I'll see you next summer! Goodbye!" to Steven as she disappeared around the corner with her grandmother.

Crushed at the turn of events, he left the money on the counter for his hot chocolate along with the conch he and Gloria had retrieved. He took his hot chocolate and exited the store, down cast and sad, looking into his hot chocolate mad by the girl who had brought him so much joy but had been taken from his life in an instant by the woman who had caused him so much hurt in past years. Then he noticed something odd with his drink. Written in the chocolate syrup were drizzled the words, Call me!, followed by the number of the girl of his dreams.