The shoe hit the floor with a dull thud. My heart stood still, if anyone got awake and found me up, it’d all be ruined. I didn’t breathe for seconds. Then, slowly looked around from bunk to bunk and saw that no one stirred. Taking a deep breath of relief, I slipped the other shoe off and dropped my dripping wet socks under the bed. I crawled down between the warm itchy blankets, shivering from the early dawn chill. It was all over – my adventure, my secret.
Strange that now, watching a little red-headed, freckle-faced kid would make me remember so vividly the events of that particular morning. Must have been his chase after a rabbit, or was it the look of thrill and excitement on his face that could bring back a long-forgotten adventure? It was an adventure that happened some twenty odd years ago.
Why, it seems like only yesterday that I made my first trip away from home, and what a reluctant one.
It wasn’t the matter of leaving home, the place I ate and slept. Home was the city, with its dirt and smoke. Running after fire engines, chasing a walloped ball for maybe two blocks, just sitting on the doorstep watching cars for hours, and listening to all the noises, that was city life. And what about movies? There wouldn’t be a darned thing to do for a week at an old camp out in the woods.
Twelve-years old, practically thirteen and I was going to a fresh air camp. My ego was lower than that apron-stringed shrimp of a kid’s across the street whose mother was always tailing after him.
“ I won’t go, I’ll hate it,” I shouted over the noise, as Mom pulled me down the street that dreaded morning to the waiting bus.
I knew that she was determined, yet, I couldn’t understand it. I wasn’t too young to know she’d worn those same shoes and dresses since – the fact was, I couldn’t remember her buying anything new – for years, maybe. The way she scrimped and saved and now wasting money.
I think there were tears in her eyes when she waved to me as the old yellow bus jerked away from the curb. “Dumb-it was plain stupid,” I kept muttering and she’d acted like I was so lucky.
[Continued ... My New World - A Short Story - Part Two]