Curious Stranger

I was 11 or 12 years old. It was my first summer camp, not a sleep-away camp just a theater camp at the local field house. I hated it, public speaking made me want to keel over but my mom made me do it. I guess she wanted me to find some courage and confidence.

Some of us were sitting under a tree, I was sitting on the perimeter of the group trying desperately to be included when suddenly he appeared. I looked up at the shadow cast across us to see a boy the likes of which I’d never seen before. The others seemed to know him and greeted him, but their conversation escaped me because we were locked in eye contact.

His eyes were a hazel brown, like his skin, but his hair was super fine and curly implying mixed heritage. It was also dyed bright yellow and tied back in a bushy pony tail. I had never seen such an individual. His clothes didn’t look like they came from Kohls, like mine did, he’d probably done the unthinkable (to me) and picked them out himself at the mall.

It was the most intense minute of so of my life, yet no one else seemed to notice. He occasionally flicked his eyes over to the girl who was addressing him, but for the most part we were locked in eye contact. When they stopped talking, he walked away and I never saw him again that summer.

I thought about him sometimes afterward, he was so different than anyone else I had ever met. Even more artsy than the theater geeks in training. But fate granted me a chance to be courageous next summer during art camp. I spotted a hazel boy with deep red curly hair in a bushy pony tail making his way to the fountain. I tried to time my descent from the top of the hill with his progress from the baseball diamonds, but alas, he got his water and left before I could reach the fountain. I should have started walking sooner, but I was never good at calculating distances. I should have called out to him, but I wasn’t good at maintaining a courageous front.

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