Short Story – Dear Mom, Love Grace

Dear Mom,

Love Grace

Written by Kaitlin Y.

Dear Mom,

     As I rode down that bumpy gravel road a million and one thoughts ran through my mind. The Beach Boys were blaring and my windows were down, but the fresh air and happy music could not clear my mind. You were gone, my mother, my best friend was gone. My wheels rolled to a stop, I’d finally arrived. “Deep breath,” I told myself as I stepped out of my car. After clicking the hatch of my jeep open I reached in and grabbed one of my two bags.

     A voice sounded behind me, “I’m Travis can I help you with your bags?” “Oh,” I responded startled, “Yes. Thank you.” Travis reached into my trunk and pulled the other bag. His arm jerked a little under the heavy weight. “What is in here?” he questioned, “bricks.” “Close,” I responded smiling, “Try books.” We walked for awhile in silence before I decided I should introduce myself. “I’m Grace Walker,” I declared, “I am going to be a counselor here this summer.” “Nice to meet you,” said Travis, “It’s my third summer here. After we drop your bags I will take you to Ally.”

     Ally’s office was on the side of the recreation center. It was air conditioned and was an oasis on the hot summer day. “You’ll be in Cabin 2 with the fourth grade girls, your co-counselor is Cindy. Cindy is also 18. Travis and Marcus will be with the fourth grade boys. We will begin training this afternoon at 1:00 in the mess hall, directly after lunch. Your break will be on Thursday nights.” Ally finally took a breath. And during the whole spiel her hands moved papers around frantically. I smiled up at her. “Don’t hesitate to see me if you need something,” she replied. I took this as a cue to leave, and with a quick thank you I’d exited her office and was making my way to Cabin 2.

     Cabin 2 was a half mile away from the recreation center. I walked in silence. I couldn’t help but noticing while I walked that the mood at Camp Ottowa was much different than the mood at home. Here life was full color. The sky was blue, not gray like the sky at home. And the trees greener than any tree I’d ever seen. Since you had passed life had just been a dull blur, I’d spent the last week in a neutral wonderland. Finally I was seeing something beautiful. Maybe dad was right in forcing me to come. Maybe this was the perfect place to heal.

     I was becoming excited about the possibility of actually having some fun when I entered Cabin 2. I quickly made up my bunk and arranged my things. After setting up my mirror I decided that I needed some serious straightening. I pulled my pony tail out and rearranged the brunette curls. I couldn’t help but notice that my green eyes didn’t look so sad and my skin didn’t look so pale. Happy over my new tan I jumped in my bunk with my favorite novel of all time Little Women. Grateful for the hour I would spend with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy before staff training would begin and I would have to return to the real world.

     I’d gotten 10 minutes into the novel when Cindy showed up. Apparently I wouldn’t be reading right this moment. Cindy began to set up her bunk, and before she finished I had heard her lives story from front to back. Cindy could talk fast, and she always had something to say. Cindy had 4 brothers and 3 sisters, she was the oldest. Her best friend from home was named Laurie and her boyfriend had just left for Iraq. Her favorite food was Mac and cheese and she loved the color purple. After learning all of these facts Cindy finally asked, “So what is your name?” “I’m Grace,” I answered, “Nice to meet you.” As a reached out to shake her hand I noticed how tall she was, almost 6 foot and she had long blonde hair and baby blue eyes. She was gorgeous, I instantly thought of a Barbie doll when looking at her.

     We hiked the half mile back up to main camp where the mess hall was. Cindy talked to whole way, as you might have guessed. When we stepped into the hall we were waved down my Travis who was sitting with a group of teenage boys. I smile politely at them and we walked over to the table. Now don’t get me wrong, you know I love boys, and am known for my ability to flirt. But I was really not in the mood. I’d always talked about boys with you and without you around it just didn’t seem right. There was nowhere else to sit though, so Cindy and I walked over to the table and sat in the middle of the long bench. I smiled, and answered questions politely, but I certainly was not acting like my normal outgoing and bubbly self.

    I wasn’t quite sure what was served on my plate when lunch finally arrived. They called it macho nachos and they were ok, though I wasn’t super excited. I picked around the food on my plate, knowing that I had to eat but lacking the desire to. Travis told me that I could make a peanut butter and jelly in the kitchen if I didn’t like the nachos. I told him that I just wasn’t hungry and thanked him for the information when needed in the future. An orange had been served along the nachos; it was the only thing I had eaten. I’ve always loved oranges and couldn’t turn that down, even in my grieving state. I looked down at my tray again and noticed that Travis had placed his orange where mine had been.

     Staff training was a series of intricate and pointless games. We played the trust game, we lifted each other above a wall, and we even played the name game. It was all fine but of no interest to me. The only place I was happy was when I was inside a book. I was happy when staff training ended, ready to go back to Cabin 2, and resume reading. We were told that finding dinner would be our own responsibility. Town was only 20 minutes away and we could drive in and go to a restaurant. I had been planning to skip.

     I considered all the calories I had burned that day walking back and forth to my cabin, and smiled at the thought of the “buns of steel” I should acquire by the end of the summer as I walked the mile and a half, once again. Tammy Fay had nothing on me. I heard the gravel move behind me and soon Travis was walking beside me down the trail. “Some of us are going to get pizza,” he said, “Will you please come?” I really was not hungry, and all I wanted to do was read. But his smile was so cute and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, or anyone else’s by saying no. “Sure,” I replied, “I’ll change really quick and we can go.” His cabin was right beside mine so we continued to walk side by side. “Thank you for the orange at lunch,” I said, in order to break the perfect silence. “No problem,” he answered.

     The day had turned to night and without the sun the air was a lot cooler. I slipped into a pair of jeans and a flowered tank top. I took my hair out of the ponytail and shook out my curls. I even put on a touch a lip gloss; this was the first time I’d even though about looking pretty since you had gone. I walked up to the parking lot with Cindy and we all piled into the back of someone’s truck. The night air was clear and it blew through my hair. That moment was very liberating; I couldn’t help but feel anything but free. Joe’s Pizza was a hole in the wall joint. But the food tasted good and I ate a piece of pepperoni pizza and a few breadsticks. I also demonstrated my excellent PacMan skills for the rest of the group on the machine in the back. I was deemed the PacMan champion and was told that should be my nickname for the campers. Campers refer to all staff members by their nick name, instead of their real name. So it was decided after some discussion that I would be Ms. PacMan.

     I loved my campers. They were sweet girls and we always had a lot of fun together. I was impressed by their adventurous spirit. They were not afraid to try anything. In the first three days after they arrived we went rock climbing, cliff jumping, and skiing. The boys were just as adventurous and all of these activities we did as a coed group. Meaning that Travis was there also, which I certainly didn’t mind. The two of us were becoming wonderful friends. It seemed the two of us were always laughing. His sweet nature never changed either. He continued to give me his orange every time one came with lunch.

     Though I was happy at camp, it still wasn’t the same happiness I felt when I opened up a book. My favorite thing to do on my night off was read under a great big oak tree a short walk off from camp. The Thursday night after my campers arrived I sat under the tree reading Little Women. I was well into the book at this point and came to the point in the plot where Beth dies. Tears started to pour. I cried and cried. I cried for Beth, I cried for you, I cried for myself. It wasn’t a sad cry, it was liberating rather. I was letting go of everything that was hurting me so bad.

     I heard a foot step beside me and there stood Travis. He sat down beside me. He then started to read where I had left off. I sat there on the ground beside him listening thankful for the best friend I’d ever had, well besides you of course. He didn’t need to know what was wrong, or ask my about it. He just read to me. And that is when I knew. Maybe dad forced me to come here but you had put the idea in his head, you had given me this new adventure, you had provided me with hundreds of new memories, and you had introduced me to Travis.

Thank you.

I will always love you.

Hugs and Kisses,


Published on May 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There were some grammer errors here and there, as would be expected. The ooint of the story was fuzzy to me at times and I didn’t understand certain things but I thought you ended it well. The ending did good at answering questions and also leaving us wondering.

  2. That is adorable, i loved it! maybe get a little more emotion and less situation description

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