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I met a guy at summer camp during the break between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. His name – I won’t tell you – but, I’ll say that he’s named after an American city. Ok, fine, let’s call him Trenton, just because. I even remember his last name, which isn’t a common one. I couldn’t tell you the name of my first grade teacher, but I remember his name.
His older sister, a pretty and vivacious soon-to-be junior, was the popular girl at camp. She held court in our room some nights, sharing her glorious makeup and beauty tips as we gossiped about the male campers we thought were cute.
I didn’t tell her I had a ginormous crush on her younger brother. What if she told him?! I’d be mortified. I think she figured it out though. I always grew quieter and bashful when he was in range.
They say girls love bad boys. I’ve never been the type. Ok fine, there was one guy in 7th grade who wore a leather jacket, Drakkar Noir cologne by the buckets, a silver chain around his neck, plain white T’s, Docs and only seemed mildly interested in paying attention in class. He always smiled at me flirtatiously. He turned out to be a big softie.
Trenton was a genuine nice guy with a warm smile and dimples that made my heart pound furiously. I live for dimples. If I could get dimple implants, I would (then again, voluntary surgery? Maybe not). One of our camp enrichment activities included sharing our deep inner teen thoughts as we formed friendships around a campfire, underneath the bright stars, on balmy southwest Texas nights, to the soundtrack of an acoustic guitar.
Trenton always had words of encouragement at the ready. I felt good around him and it wasn’t just that my head floated up into the clouds whenever I got within five feet of him. We each got assigned work duty at camp in exchange for free room and board. Each night we rotated through camp chores, some easier and more pleasant than others. On my night to clean up after dinner – one of the more tedious and extended tasks – he stayed after to help us out. It wasn’t even his night! Swoon.
We bonded over our love of the Pearl Jam Ten CD. It was the height of the grunge era and though I didn’t fit the profile of a typical grunge rock fan, the music spoke to my teenage angst. I nearly melted when he told me his favorite track: “Black.” That’s my favorite song on the CD too! We are so meant to be together! We listened to the track on a Discman (Hahahaha, I’m old). My heart threatened burst from happiness.
To this day, whenever I hear that song, I think of him sometimes, and I feel that happiness again for a moment.
Nothing ever happened with us; I’m not sure why. Maybe he was just as shy. Maybe I mistook his kindness and focused conversation for interest when it was nothing more than a guy being friendly. Who knows?
We fell out of touch after we left camp for home. These were the days before email, texting and Facebooking, so it was easier to lose contact with people.
I returned to the same camp the next summer, hoping he’d be there, but neither he nor his sister were at the session.
I never saw him again.
Everyone once in a while I think about him and wonder how he’s doing. I’ve Googled him, but had no luck. I imagine he’s married. I bet he has a beautiful wife and two perfect little children in a sprawling house with a Labrador retriever and a Siamese cat.
What if we’d been something though?
Is there anyone from your past you wonder about?
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