I know! 2 whole posts in one day!! But if I’m ever going to get through all of this I need to hurry up!!
We headed back to camp the next day for the “Staff Appreciation Banquet.” I was extremely NOT looking forward to it this year, because I knew it was going to be a tough time for everyone since it was the very last. Like I said, I don’t like to cry, so I wasn’t too happy about sailing through this emotional day with all the rest of the staff. I didn’t cry, by the way, but my throat hurt like crazy from trying not to. Anyway, on our way back to camp Stu’s car got a flat tire, so we were kind of late to the whole shindig anyhow.
After it was all FINALLY over, I made a bee-line back to my cabin to change and escape! I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I knew I was getting out of there. As I was putting on my shoes, thinking I’d hike to Muddy Creek Falls again or something, Stu pulled up to my cabin in his car to deliver my suitcase. As he brought it in he asked, “Do you want to go hike Rabbit Ears?” My reply was something like “YES!!! Let’s get out of here!” And off we went. 🙂 That was a very needed therapy hike for us both. As emotionally attached as we were to TWR some of the “last things” of that summer just felt like pouring salt in a wound, so it was very good to get away! We were silly on that hike. I recall singing “Zipity-doo-da” as we walked through the woods. And I kept him guessing about a riddle that I told him but refused to give any hints. Once we climbed up the actual “ears” part of the pass we sat on top and chatted while the sun started setting. It’s a great view from up there all the way around! At one point Stu started talking about our friendship, and he likened us to the kids on that movie “My Girl.” Ha! Well, that sent a message to me LOUD AND CLEAR! And the message was, “we really are “just friends” so don’t get any ideas in your head!” 🙂 See… I had already figured out, and even admitted to myself (but no way was I going to admit it to another breathing soul!!) that I “liked” Stuart. Hmmmm… perhaps he knew something about the ‘buddy system’ that I didn’t! So when he started talking about our friendship like that it kinda hurt inside in a way because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really was no chance for me. It didn’t surprise me, but still, ya’d like to think that a person you’ve come to really admire and care for could feel that way about you too. So I just kind of laughed it off, and made some light joke about it or something.
Turns out I was WAY OFF on my interpretation of his meaning. He told me later that he was actually trying to tell me that he WAS interested in me!! I had a mental block though because I knew he still had this girlfriend, even if they hadn’t really spoken for awhile. With such an emotional day behind us it’s probably good that the conversation just kind of ended with that. It’s not good to make decisions when you’re coming off of something so emotionally draining. So with a new resolve to be sure not to let anything “show” as far as how much I liked Stuart, we continued to “hang out” and hike and talk, like always. 🙂 I told myself over and over that I couldn’t “let” myself fall for him because once the summer was over I knew I wouldn’t be seeing him again. EVER!
The rumor mill at camp started spinning of course, because people finally started to notice how much time Stu and I spent together. Oh, I have to tell you about “the note.” Somehow nearer the beginning of summer than the end I wrote a note on a page in Stu’s notebook that he had left unattended. I don’t even remember what the original note said, but it was something sarcastic or funny. He replied back to me on the same paper that he stuck in my Bible when I wasn’t looking. Well…. not to one to back down from a challenge I sent it right back to him with something else written on it. Eventually some disgusting tube of “sample” lip gloss that one of us found on the ball field got involved as well and the note and the tube went back and forth till there was basically no room on that paper to write. 😀 I even got the gal’s lead counselor to let me sneak it into his cabin during cabin check one morning!! The note eventually got tossed because I think it ended up going through the washer or something, but it was a fun way of flirting at the time…. though we wouldn’t have admitted to it being flirting, oh no! But people were getting suspicious of course and started asking dumb questions like, “What’s up with Stuart and Rachel.” I would like to go on record as saying that absolutely NO ONE asked me about it at all. 😉 Stu did get questions though, and the reply was always, we’re just friends, hanging out. I mean, if we’re not going to admit it to ourselves or each other, we’d certainly not be admitting to any one else that we liked each other!
There are probably zillions of other details I could put in about that summer. We played frisbe golf in the rain, jumped off the dock into the lake, drank coffee on the roof of the lodge. 🙂 But to keep things moving, the summer eventually did come to a close. Stuart had to head back to school for his senior year, back to his girlfriend, was what I was thinking. And I was going to stay at camp through the Fall to help pack up and move out since I had no school OR career to go back to. Before that started though I was going to have a week or 2 off, and since my car was still out of good running order due to the deer attack, Stuart offered to let me ride to ABQ with him since he had to drive through there anyway. It was going to be our last ramble together, and even though I was sad because in the back of my mind I knew this was really and truly “the end” I was still glad for one last trip…