OMG, Abby. My gallery is going to be so boring without you
"How many letters spell ‘sunscreen’?”
OMG, I wish that stuff wouldn’t smell so bad. I’m holding the spray can up in the air, attempting to spray you up before you dive into the pool headfirst. Yeah, you’re that excited.
You stop jumping and you count on your fingers.
“S, U, N, S, C, R, E, E, N. Nine letters spell sunscreen,” you decide.
By the time you’re done with all your intense calculations about Banana Boat, like if it’s one word or two, I’m also done getting all that spray on you. Gosh, I should’ve had you in my third-grade class. I would’ve asked you to study with me for every single spelling test.
I let you run. It’s our last day at the pool together, give a girl a little freedom.
Maybe your second-half counselor will let you get away with everything and you’ll remember me as the big, bad guy.
I need to stop thinking about this mystery person who is going to swoop in and pretend that I never existed.
Like, hi, I was here first.
The smell of that awful stuff is almost gone when you decide it’s time to hold it up in the air and press the cap till the bottle is empty. I need to take it away from you now, but your giggles are so cute, I almost don’t.
Second half is starting tomorrow. Very funny.
As if I could ever leave this place. Leave you.
I’m chilling on my towel with my eyes closed, trying to get my tan to tan more, when someone pulls my foot.
I don’t even open my eyes. “What, Abby?”
“Look, Shira, look!”
Okay, fine. I’ll look.
You triumphantly hand me the sunscreen. You look so proud, I can only giggle.
“Ten letters,” you say.
I spread out your pink flamingo towel for you so you can sit next to me.
“Ten letters what?” I ask, pushing my sunglasses into my hair so I can see you better.
“Second half, ten letters. Two words.”
You squint as the sun blinds your eyes and I decide that my sunglasses belong on you.
Of course, you find that hysterical. “Abby wearing Shira’s glasses!” You make the whole camp turn to look.
“Abby won’t break,” you promise solemnly. I almost grab my glasses off you. I can’t believe I forgot about that so fast. I’d spent the entire night eating sour sticks and promising myself that I was never talking to you again after we got that picture with the pink girl. And here I am, talking to you. Here you are, wearing my sunglasses.
I slowly get them off you and I give you my Disney cap instead, the one with the Mickey Mouse ears that you’re obsessed with.
I love you, but I also know you.
My glasses were in almost perfect shape by now. I’ll probably ask the bus driver on the way home to drop me off at the glasses store, but for now, I could see. Kind of. Well, I for sure wasn’t blind.
I needed to stop closing my eyes to what was coming, also.
“Want a picture with Mickey Mouse cap!” you announce. I want to remind you that you’ve taken maybe ten million pictures with that hat, but we take one anyway.
You’re off into the pool. I scroll through my gallery.
You on the swings. Our shaving-cream fight. Me and Ariella (the blonde guitar girl). Me and my friends. You and the pink girl. Me and you and the pink girl.
My life, basically. I wonder what I took pictures of before camp.
Me at the mirror, me at the mirror, five million selfies.
OMG, Abby. My gallery is going to be so boring without you. You’ve filled it with smiles and every single picture of you is marked with a little heart at the side.
I tell that to Ariella who makes me send her all the pictures we have together.
Then she hugs me. “I’m going to miss this place so much,” I whisper.
She squeezes my hand. She knows.
Dani comes running, a deflated tube in his hands and we’re puffing our cheeks until we collapse in laughter.
Tomorrow. I wish it would never come.
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 865)
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