Part 5 of Camp Life
The downpour came without any warning, settling onto Camp Prison Shit like a weekend guest who, for reasons no one can fathom, ends up staying for a month. As if things at camp already weren’t bad enough, now we had day after day of torrential rains.
I called it Noah’s rain because it came down like it was punishing us for our wild ways and foul mouths. But Denise called it Noah’s reign of terror, arguing that the damn rains were like a serpent unleashing it’s worst on us. A solid sheet of water that just wouldn’t let up.
It rained with scant let-up, which, when you’re in the throes of it, seems like an eternity. We wore our ponchos, which were no more than glorified trash bags, that offered little protection from the monsoon. The water still managed to find it’s way to every crevice and every pore on our bodies.
Our sneakers were rendered useless after just three days. All our clothes were soaked through with no chance to air out and dry. There seemed no point in taking showers, washing our hair, or doing laundry. We were wet and grimy and going to stay that way no matter what.
We were swamp creatures, caked with mud. Our bodies, riddled with mosquito bites, made us scratch like crazy. After six days, we were incredibly weary from being pummeled by the obstinate rain. If this was a ball game, the score was:
Because of the incessant rains, we were mostly confined to our cabins. There were no panes on the windows, so we kept them covered with tarp, but everything was damp, even our thin blankets. We’d sit on our cots and read whatever magazines or books available. Some of the campers had brought comic books. Denise, Yolanda and I swiped them from their bags and read them all at least twice.
Whenever possible, the mess hall was the place to be. The only dry place we could go. We’d linger there after meals and play board games, Charades and do jigsaw puzzles. Through it all, the girls would whine and beg to be taken home. One of them pointed out that it would never rain this much in New York City, because the city was too badass to put up with it. I’m guessing she was right.
As the downpours continued, we were in a state of perpetual misery, on account we were all damp to the bone. We no longer had the energy or wherewithal to fight one another, and lacked the stamina to discipline the girls. Worst, most activities had to be cancelled, including visiting the farm. I now officially hated the rain and resented its attempt to keep me from the farm.
Going there may have been off limits during the day, but I was not going to let that spoil my nights. I had every intention of continuing my late night rendezvous with Jon. I needed to feel his arms around me, and kiss his sweet juicy lips. The yearning for him was strong, and not even a monsoon was going to get in my way.
Come nightfall, I set out for the farm, stumbling my way through the underbrush with Lucas in tow.
Poor Lucas. At the appointed hour, there he was, waiting for me, as usual. Because of the rain, I had trouble seeing him at first, but I could sense he was there. Why wouldn’t he be? He’d never let me down before.
But he was soaked. His kerchief, a puddle of red. Pathetic. I stroked his watery ears and felt the warmth of his body beneath his dark, wet coat of fur, which he rubbed against my jeans, which were in desperate need of a washing.
“Come on, buddy. Let’s get out of this storm,” I said in his ear.
As we trudged through the muddy trails, I felt the wind pick up and the rain splatter us from all sides. I was having trouble seeing where I was going. There was no moonlight to light the way, and my flashlight, now waterlogged, had gone kaput the day before.
All of a sudden, I tripped on a loose vine and with a thump, fell into the mud. I could feel it make it’s way into my hair, nose and mouth. I gagged and spit out what I could, but something else was happening. I began to have a sensation that I was sinking, and the more I tried to pull myself up, the harder it became to do so. There was nothing to grab onto for support or leverage. Lucas as usual was at least twenty feet ahead.
I wondered if he could hear me through the downpour and howling wind.
I was going to die here, I thought. Like the people of Pompei, I’d be buried alive, not in lava, but in mud flow.
He came back! I was practically crying, so happy was I to see beautiful, soaking wet Lucas. He drew his face down to me so I could wrap my arms around his neck. Using all his weight, he managed to stand firmly in place. This allowed me to grab on to him, and slowly, I was able to pull myself up. How I loved that dog!
Together we made it to the barn, but barely. It felt like a hollow victory and I was in no shape to enjoy it. Exhausted and weak–I was a wet, mucky, shivering fright.
The last thing I remember was looking up to see Jon. Gorgeous Jon in his red plaid shirt and bell bottoms, relaxed and seemingly unperturbed by the storm. My head began to spin, and at first I thought it elation at the sight of him, but I soon noticed a peculiar, stricken look cross Jon’s face, as he approached me.
Letting out a cry of shock, he exclaimed, “Oh my God! Are you okay??”
I couldn’t answer. I had collapsed on the ground and passed out.
To be continued.