This year, coming to camp was almost like returning home. Everywhere, girls in bright green T-shirts with the camp logo greeted returning friends. Groups gathered, laughing and chatting and getting reacquainted with cabin-mates they might not have seen for a year.
Wendy scanned the crowd, looking for anyone she knew. She shifted the overloaded backpack uncomfortably on her shoulder, and set the heavy duffel containing the rest of her stuff on the ground.
“Girls? Attention here, please. Form a line and let’s get cabins assigned. When you get settled there will be time to socialize.” The counselor in charge was a middle-aged woman with streaks of purple and green through her hair. She had a clipboard, and a no-nonsense, “Mom” vibe that made the girls naturally do what she told them to do.
Wendy hung back as other groups went to the tables set up for registration, and asked to be assigned together. With keys in hand, they departed for the edge of the woods, where the sturdy log-cabins waited in a row. Inside, Wendy remembered the bunk-beds in rows against the wall, just waiting for sleeping bags. She bit her lip and looked around anxiously again.
She spotted one scrawny, serious girl who’d sat down on her duffel and was quietly reading a book. The girl never looked up, though the squealing crowd from the next bus swirled around her. Wendy worked her way closer, suddenly curious to find out the book’s title. She bent down to read it, and the girl didn’t even seem to notice her. The title was familiar, one she’d read and liked last year.
“Hey,” she nudged the girl. “Want to be in my cabin?”
Finally the girl looked up warily from her book, and studied Wendy for a long time. “Sure,” she finally nodded.
“My name’s Wendy.” Wendy stuck her hand out.
The scrawny girl shook it. “I’m Maya. I’m waiting for my friends. You can be in our cabin.”
Wendy shrugged. “Yeah, I’m waiting for my friends, too. I’m going to be in their cabin, sorry.”
“Sure. No problem. I’ll see you around.” Maya sat down and reopened the book.
Another bus pulled up, full of rowdy, laughing girls. Wendy was relieved to see Kim and Lisa and Brittany, all getting off the bus together. Her best friends from Chicago, who she hadn’t seen in months. With a grin, she started toward them.
“Hi Maya!” Kim grinned and waved at the scrawny girl, who looked up and grinned back. She leaped up, book forgotten, to greet them all with hugs.
Wendy’s mouth dropped open in surprise, and she stopped walking forward. She’d been feeling sorry for that girl, thinking she was so shy she didn’t have any friends. And only to find out that this was the girl she’d been hearing about, the one who’d replaced Wendy in their group.
“Oh hi, Wendy.” Brittany spotted her and instantly ran over to give her a hug, too. “Have you met Maya, then?”
It was Maya’s turn to look surprised and jealous. “Oh. You’re that Wendy.”
It was going to be an interesting two weeks….