I can’t believe how quickly Winter Quarter has gone by. With everything that was going on with me, I would have thought time would drag along. But yet, here I was at the end of finals week with a 4.0 gpa and a quarter well done.
While I was planning to go home for Spring Break, I get a very tempting offer from Janice to go camping at a lake a few miles away. I haven’t gone camping in a long time, so I can’t help but accept her offer. My dad is a bit disappointed when I tell him over the phone, but I promise him that I will back for the summer.
So, that Saturday afternoon, I make my way over to my car with my packed bags and Janice and I load them into my car. Within an hour, we are gone.
We get to the campsite later that evening. Janice and I pour some coal into a nearby fire pit and start up a fire. The warm glow ignites the dark sky.
We both then have roasted hot dogs for dinner and roasted marshmallows for dessert. Doing this brings back memories. I remember when my mom and dad took Judy and I camping a few years back. Judy’s marshmallow somehow ended up in her hair and it took forever to wash it out.
We spend the evening enjoying our marshmallows and the warm fire. There is still a bit of a chill in the air, so the fire is very welcoming to me.
After we finish eating, Janice puts out the fire and we go to bed.
We spend most of the next day hanging out at the lake and splashing in the water. The water is cold, but I am having way too much fun with Janice to notice.
Janice then surprises me by pulling out some windsurfing boards.
“I can’t windsurf,” I say quickly. I realize that Janice is really athletic, but I on the other hand, am not.
“Don’t worry I’ll teach you,” Janice says with a smile. “Besides, we have all week.” She then gets on her board and shows me some moves. I must say, she is pretty amazing, twisting and turning like a pro.
I start off slow, but pick up my windsurfing skills throughout the week. I do fall several times, even once almost being carried away by a wave. Luckily, Janice is there to swim out and bring me back to shore. I decide to take a break the next day, and we spend most of that time hiking through the forest, which was very beautiful.
By that Friday, I am windsurfing pretty well. I can actually keep up with Janice and am even doing some twists, turns, and tricks of my own. Janice has definitely proved me wrong. I think she is going to make an amazing trainer, well, if that is what she chooses to do with her major in physical education.
During our hike, we find some amazing berry plants in the forest. I was unsure of whether they were edible or not, but Janice was on top of it. She had taken girl scouts when she was little and knew exactly which plants were poisonous and which ones weren’t.
Pretty soon, I am able to figure it out on my own. I discover a few of the berry plants around our campsite, which makes it easier for Janice and I to pick them, instead of stomping through the trails everyday to collect them. They make very delicious berry drinks and desserts for our breakfast, lunch and dinner.
That Friday night while we roast marshmallows for dessert, Janice tells me about a nearby carnival that she wants to show me.
“It’s on our way back to campus. I saw a flyer for it on campus.”
“Well that sounds fun,” I say through a mouthful of marshmallow. “Do you know when it ends?”
“I think it is supposed to get over by Sunday. However, I was thinking we should probably head back up to campus that day, so maybe we should go tomorrow evening. What do you think?”
I nod. “Sounds like a good plan. I can’t wait.” I hadn’t been to a carnival in quite a while. It would be nice to walk around and try the games. It seemed like a good ending to our awesome camping trip.
After dinner, we both slip into our sleeping bags and stare up at the night sky. It feels so peaceful out here. I can really see all the stars in the sky more than I can when I am back home. I swear I can see every constellation that Judy once pointed out to me when she was going through her astronomy phase. Staring at the big dipper, I slowly drift off to sleep.
Janice and I get up early the next morning for an early morning swim. We lap around in the lake, making sure not to get too far from shore. The weather has started to warm up slightly and I can tell it is going to be a hot day.
We then have some fun, splashing around in the water and acting like little kids. It’s enough to make me a bit homesick. I miss the camping trip I went on with my family a few years back. Judy and I had a sand castle building contest which she totally squashed me at. Judy can be pretty artistic like Abby. Speaking of which, I wonder how Abby is doing. I wasn’t sure if she had gone home to Aberdale, for when Janice and I left last Saturday, I saw her car still sitting in its parking space.
After our swim, we go for another hike, ending in us playing a little game of soccer. Like I predicted, the weather heats up and hits 88 degrees. And being in a bit of a hurry , Janice and I forgot to bring sunscreen. So unfortunately, Janice and I end up with deep red sunburns. Not so fun.
Janice finds a grill nearby and whips up some hamburgers for lunch. I am starving, so I welcome the delicious aroma.
“This is amazing,” I say to Janice through a mouthful of a burger.
“Don’t I know it,” she says with a smile. “I am always the one that cooks when my sisters have us do cookouts in the backyard.”
“Where do your sisters live?”
I am so jealous. I have always wanted to go there. My parents have been saying we are going to fly down and visit for the past five years, but we still haven’t gotten around to it.
“I really want to visit someday.”
“You should,” says Janice. “My sisters and I live at this beach house overlooking the ocean. We also have a boat that we take out to sea sometimes.”
“Yup. We inherited the house and boat from our grandfather. We only found out about it five years ago.”
“Where were you guys living before then?”
Janice swallows and shifts her eyes to the grass. “In another city. No where important.” She then gets up from her seat. “You finished?”
I am a bit thrown by how abruptly she changes the subject. “Um sure,” I say and we start to clean up the plates.
Later that evening, we drive up to carnival. The place is pretty quiet and we realize that most of the people attending had come over the past week. Oh well, at least there would be no long waits!
The first thing I settle on is the Whack-a-mole game. Believe me, it is very addictive. I end up spending almost twenty minutes just trying to get the highest score I can and lucky for me, I do.
Janice heads over to the claw machine and works it to get a prize. I smile. That game brings back memories from my days in elementary school. Abby and I used to play that game all the time. I can’t tell you how many quarters we wasted trying to get toys and prizes from that machine. But Janice seems to know her stuff. She ends up with a stuffed teddy bear on her first try.
Janice then moves to the Free Throw arcade game and scores at that as well. Janice is definitely a sports fanatic.
I spot a Skeeball machine and start tossing my way to a high score. With all the times that Abby and I have played, I totally rule at this game. I end up with the highest score of the night. Go figure.
Janice stops to get a drink at the carnival café while I finish up my game.
“Well, it looks like you are all tired out,” I say to her as I approach her table.
Janice yawns and stretches. “Maybe a little. I guess we really did it with all the hiking, windsurfing, and everything.”
“Agreed.” I let out a yawn as well and then we shuffle out of the carnival together.
Tired as we are, Janice and I can’t resist having one last meal around the fire pit before we go to bed. As we sit, I stare into the flames thinking about Kendal and what we said to each other before Spring break. I also think about Michael and what he said to me on the night of my short story reading, “You are an amazing writer and I’m glad I got the chance to see it.” I smile feeling my cheeks flush.
“Thinking of someone?” Janice asks.
I smile. “Maybe.”
“Kendal or Michael?”
“Mich-wait! What?” I jump slightly and look at her in surprise. “What are you talking about?”
Janice laughs. “Goodness, you got it bad.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I mean. You are stuck between Kendal and Michael.”
My jaw drops. “I am not! I am with Kendal! I love him!”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure! I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t.”
Janice laughs. “If you say so Lizzie, but I think you protest way too much.”
“Janice,” I start, but then stop. Honestly, I didn’t know what was going on with Michael and I. I knew we were just friends, but sometimes…I don’t know…
Janice yawns and stretches. “Well, I think I am going to turn in for the night. You?”
I nod. “Yah.” We then put out the fire and walk back over to our sleeping bags.
Janice falls right asleep, but I can’t. My mind is still thinking about what she said. “I think you protest too much.” Whether there was truth to what she was saying or not, I couldn’t think about it. Kendal was my boyfriend, which meant I couldn’t think about anyone else in that way. Besides, Michael most likely only thought of me as a friend. So there was no use in even entertaining the idea.
I am the first to wake up that next morning. The lake is quiet, apart from the waves lapping upon the sand. I stretch and slowly wrap up my sleeping bag.
When I get up, I see that Janice is still sleeping peacefully, so I decide to get dressed and check out the lake one last time.
After dressing, I stand upon the sand and watch the waves. They are so peaceful coming in and out of the lake. I close my eyes and breathe in the fresh air. This was definitely a good trip. I’m glad that Janice asked me to come. Getting away from reality was just what I needed.
“You ready to head out?” a voice says behind me just then.
I turn and see Janice standing a few feet from me. I smile. “Guess so. Back to the grind.”
Janice and I then pack all our things into my car trunk and then take off down the road.