Camp Life: Monsoon Summer

Part 5 of Camp Life

camp

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:

Nature: 1,000

Us:   0

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.

“Lucas!”

I wondered if he could hear me through the downpour and howling wind.

“Lucas!”

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.

“LUCAS!”

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.

 

24 thoughts on “Camp Life: Monsoon Summer

  1. I was so caught up in the story Monica, I wasn’t prepared for it to stop when it did. I wanted more…You grabbed my attention so beautifully, so smoothly – I love this writing,
    I am so in love with Lucas and that red kerchief. What joy he has brought. I don’t know how you withstood that rain, I would be so miserable. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to go home.

    • MM, I’m so glad you’re enjoying this short series. It was a small episode of my life but it had a great impact on me, teaching me a lot about life, people, class, and the love of a good dog. Lucas was truly special. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. Slick move on your part to collapse and all. That damsel in distress has a way of reeling in guys. I don’t know if that works so much anymore. But yeah, sounds like a soaking wet kiss is looming in the very near future.

  3. This sounds like a positively miserable experience, Monica, but at least you’ve left me wanting to read more! What a good boy Lucas was, helping you to safety. But being drenched all day every day doesn’t sound like much of a happy time, and I can almost taste the mud and gunk in your mouth. Throw in mosquito bites, and you’ve spun a perfectly awful setting!

    • Debbie, I don’t know how I missed your comment and didn’t respond to you sooner, but there you have it. So sorry! It’s so true about Lucas. I made a special bond that summer–with him! Until then, I hadn’t spent much time around dogs and had no idea what having a relationship with canines could be like. It’s funny, but after that I so wanted a German Shepherd of my own, thinking I’m sure, that I could replicate that relationship with another. But when I was finally in a position to have a dog, my small place with no yard prohibited taking in such a large dog. Despite this, I lucked out with Henry and Oliver. But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Lucas.

  4. How terrible to suffer a camp experience like that, but you found memorable relationships. I want to read more. I remember a mother-daughter weekend my younger daughter and I attended. It was supposed to be a preview of her first summer at camp — it rained all the way from Houston to the camp past San Antonio and then all weekend at the camp. We wore the Reeboks on our feet and only packed two additional pair of socks. Oh…how I wanted dry socks but they wouldn’t have done any good because our shoes remained soaked. Daughter impervious to the rain just knew summer wouldn’t be like that…she was right. This is another great read like “Lightning in a Jar.”

    • Georgette, if you have time, I hope you’ll back to read some of the earlier installments. It’s been so much fun to recall and to write about. This won’t be nearly as long as the Lightning in a Jar series. In fact, almost done! In fact, I think I particularly enjoyed writing about all the rain because of the drought we are currently experiencing in California. It felt good to remember how much rain we’d get back east.

  5. Why did they keep all of you there, what misery! Another cliff hanger, love the storytelling Monica, but the cliffhangers they are killing me. You get me all heated up then BANG, there are I am.

    Dang girl.

  6. I hope Lucas had a hot shower! Rain all through camp is miserable, especially when you don’t really care for the people you’re stuck inside with.

  7. That camp really sounds a laugh a minute.

    Good writing Monica, you have the knack of stopping just at an interesting point.

    Lucas proved what we all know and that a dog is mans or in this case woman best friend!!!

    • Glad to hear you like my cliffhangers. I find that it’s one of the most critical aspects of writing, knowing when and how to leave them wanting more. It’s also one of the things I enjoy most about writing. 😉

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