My mother packed our clothes into two army duffle bags.
We walked to the street corner and waited for the bus.
I shoved my sister, "I don’t want you hanging around with me when we get there."
It was my first time at an overnight camp.
I was twelve. My sister Jayda was seven.
The bus arrived. We boarded and waved goodbye to my mother.
I looked out the window throughout the long ride.
I had never seen so many trees before. There were thousands of them, their branches brushing against one another when the wind blew.
And the clouds were newly colored, purple-pink with blends of blue.
We arrived. There were tennis courts, hiking trails, horseback riding, and archery. Back home we made up games. There weren’t tennis courts but we used tennis balls. We threw a tennis ball against the project building. If you were "it" you had to catch the ball. If you dropped the ball three times you were out. And that’s what we called the game, "Outs."
Camp counselors waiting with clip boards asked us to get into a single line.
They called out names.
"These are your cabin chums for the next two weeks," a counselor said.
Jayda and I were not in the same cabin.
When we got to my cabin the counselor first read us the rules.
Then I chose a bottom bunk, sat on it, and began to bawl.
The counselor asked, "What’s the matter Talia?"
"I miss my sister. Can I be in the same cabin as my sister?"
"What is your sister’s name?"
"How old is she?"
Surprised, the counselor repeated, "Seven?!"
She paused, "I will find out if that is possible."
The counselor returned. "Get your stuff together. We’re moving you to the cabin with your sister."
When we walked into the cabin Jayda looked up. "What are you doing here?"
The counselor told her, "Talia was crying and wanted to be with her sister."
And she’s been poking fun at me ever since.