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Summer Camp

Secrets hidden in the summertime.

Photo taken by Mensur Hamzabegovic in Payson, 2014. 

"How did you know?" I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she fell for the lies like the others. I wasn't aware that she was keeping an eye on me. This strange yet beautiful and wonderful girl. It was summer camp, 1993. My parents divorced two months before my mother decided to send me away for her own selfish reasons. She wanted alone time with her new man. The mechanic next door. I was only fourteen. And very upset. Upon arrival I promised myself to be mute. As rebellion. As a cry for help. Hoping my visit to this pathetic summer pass time would be short. Weeks passed and I convinced everyone I couldn't speak. To my surprise, it made me popular. I made many friends. All the campers were so intrigued by the boy who couldn't speak. And to be honest I learned to enjoy all the camp's activities. 

Activities like the treasure hunts in the cold forest in the morning. Looking for things like expensive chocolates and novels. The long hours by the lake, hoping to catch at least one fish. But I was convinced the fish would avoid me and go straight to Timmy's line. He was my bunk buddy and became my best friend. The only thing I didn't participate in was the evening choir show. Everyone was required to sing in it before supper every Friday. Everyone but me. They would preform songs written by the campers themselves. It wasn't until mid-summer that someone finally caught me in the act. Exposing my lies. It was after one of the choir performances. They learned an amazing new song that really captured my attention. But I knew I must stay silent and just tap my feet to the beat. So I waited late that night until I was alone in the showers to show my appreciation for the song. I started softly, "lay with me, remind me of all the times you told me you want me. Be my king, my queen, my knight in shining armor." But as I got more into the lyrics, I started singing higher, "To be the ruler of my heart you must slay the demons within me. Set fire to my soul, cross my bridges and break down my walls." I continued without thinking about anyone hearing me, "This kingdom is yours, come and claim your crown. I'll bathe you in holy water. Be my protector, my shield." When suddenly I heard a voice outside. A voice that was as smooth as vanilla, "The princes can't compare to your beauty. The jokers can't compare to your humor. The Gods can't compare to your strength over me." 

I froze in place. Afraid someone will figure out it's me and tell the others. I quickly grabbed my things and wanted to escape to my cabin. I quickly dried up and threw on my clothes. I was silently making my way out the back door when one of the other campers emerged. Her name was Izzy. "I knew you had an amazing voice." She said. "How did you know?" I asked. She reached out and gently touched my chest. I felt nothing but warmth. Everything around me evaporated into flames. The sky turning to a bright purple. The buildings, ablaze, extinguished and revealed statues of gold and glass. Birds and butterflies emerged from the lake and forest. Flying above, casting intricate shadows. She leaned forward and kissed me on the lips. Her hair turned from black to white. Her eyes went from green to brown. She grabbed my hand and admitted, "you're not the only one with a secret."

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