From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

The Boy at Band Camp

Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go.

Louise Driscoll

Strains of Mariah Carey floated in the background as we held each other close and swayed to the rhythm of the music. I hadn’t expected us to be so intimate when I asked the guy who had been my best friend at summer camp to dance. But as my head rested on his shoulder and his arms wrapped around my torso, I realized that I had fallen head-over-heels for this guy. My timing had never been worse. It was the farewell dance at summer camp, the night before we left, and I was just realizing that I wanted to be with him. Furthermore, I had gone to middle school with him for the past two years, and I had never thought twice about the fact that I saw him literally six times a day. Then, he was just the annoying little boy who threw goldfish at my friends and me during lunch. But now he was the boy who would save me a seat at breakfast and write messages on my hand. The one with the cute smile and jokes that would make me giddy with laughter. And now I was dancing with him, the wonder boy. I had never been more content in my entire life. The song’s last notes faded out and we just stood, locked in our embrace. Neither of us wanted to move; the moment was too perfect. However, we were soon interrupted by the loud drumbeat of a Blink-182 song. We jumped apart, startled.

“Whoa,” he said, shyly smiling. “That scared me.” I smiled back at him and nodded in agreement. We were soon joined by a group of our friends and began jumping around to the muffled words of “All the Small Things.”

It was now 9:30 P.M., time for us to crawl into our sleeping bags and whisper under the pillows. I was walking back to my cabin, grinning from ear to ear in the dark. Unexpectedly, someone jumped onto my back, causing me to stumble. I looked up to see who had attacked me and it turned out to be my friends Beth and Kari.

“So . . . Molly!” Beth said to me, with a smirk on her face.

“Y . . . yes?” I stammered, turning red.

“You and Brian, eh?” teased Kari.

All I could do was smile and laugh, but that was enough to send my friends into squealing fits of, “Oh my GOD!” and, “I knew it!” Satisfied that they had pulled the latest gossip out of me, they pranced off to tell the rest of my cabin. I didn’t really care. They were all my best friends, and they would have found out sooner or later.

The next morning was concert day. We all had rehearsal in between packing our suitcases. I walked to the piano room for my ten o’clock run-through. I rushed through my piece and didn’t bother to stick around for my feedback. Instead, I left the amphitheater where the orchestra was rehearsing and joined a group of my friends who were exchanging phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

“Molly! You’re here!” said one of them.

“Yeah, I tried to get out of rehearsal as soon as possible,” I replied as I grabbed a handful of pretzels from a bowl on the bench.

We started talking about nothing in particular, laughing and joking about anything and everything. Suddenly, Elise shouted “Hey Molly! Look who it is!” and pointed to my right. Snapping my head around, I saw Brian strolling up the hill to the amphitheater. I blushed and waved and quickly turned back to the conversation. He joined us and I could feel the rickety bench we were sitting on sink lower with his weight. Everyone’s eyes were on me. I fidgeted with my bracelets while the silence grew.

“What’s going on?” he asked, with a sincerely confused look on his face. Out of fear that one of my friends would embarrass me in front of him, I jumped up, mumbled something about forgetting to pack my sweatshirt and ran off in the direction of my cabin. Even though nothing extremely unordinary had happened, I couldn’t help feeling embarrassed. I walked down to the beach instead of to my cabin and sat down on the sand. I felt like being alone for a while.

I wiped my tears on my sleeve while hugging all my friends. I couldn’t believe it was time to go home already! Our time together had gone by so fast. I would have to wait a whole year before I would see these people again, I reminded myself as I heaved my overflowing duffel bag into the trunk of the car. All around me, cameras flashed, pens were scribbling digits, and people sobbed into each other’s shoulders. Saying good-bye is always hard. But I was ready to go. I had seen everyone I needed to, until I heard my name being yelled from across the way.


I turned around to see who had called my name. My heart skipped a beat. It was exactly who I hoped it would be.

“Are you about to leave?” Brian asked.

I nodded. I was afraid to speak; afraid of what would come out of my mouth.

“So, I’ll see you at school then . . .” he said.

“Yeah, definitely!” I said, a little too enthusiastically.

“High school is a big place. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you, though,” I added.

“Okay, me too,” he said, with a slight smile.

I stepped in to give him a hug, one (I thought) he eagerly accepted. For a few seconds I felt the peaceful bliss that had made me so content the night before. The head on the shoulder, the hands on my back . . . it was completely comfortable. But it ended in hardly enough time for me to even begin to enjoy it.

“So I’ll see you later, then,” he said, and turned to leave.

“Yeah, later,” I whispered. “Umm, Brian?” He stopped and turned his attention back to me. “If you want to . . . you know . . . umm, like . . . get together . . . or something . . . before school starts . . . just give me a call . . . I’ll be around . . .” I stammered, my nerves trembling with anticipation.

He just looked at me standing in front of him, bright red and chewing my lips to death. Then he smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

After that, he turned and walked toward the parking lot. I watched his back get smaller and smaller until he disappeared behind a clump of trees. It was only then that I realized I was holding my breath.

Molly Gaebler

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