Finally, the volleyball match. Not much to say, but it introduces something my daughter wanted to put in the story: the rules of cool. We get to see Julie trying to figure out what it means to be cool. Some foreshadowing for...
My life so far, Episode 6: A sleepover
Letters : 12007 Words : 2265
Finally, the sleepover. The scary story part is 100% from my daughter, by the petanque part is mine. We designed the resort together and both wrote parts.
Thinking back to that afternoon, I have some shivers. I went with my parents to a place I barely knew, nude, and I was going away with a girl barely older than I was, to do whatever she wanted until supper came, around whoever stayed at that resort.
And yet, all was fine, and in my 12-year-old mind, everything was fine.
We swam in the little lake, which was odd too. It was a lake, the bottom was made of sand, there was no chlorine in it, there was a small stream dropping in it, and another leading away.
But it was an artificial lake.
It was explained to me later that weekend, and it stuck with me. It's part of the reason I am studying to become an environmental engineer, even if the link is tenuous at best.
There was a creek crossing the resort. It was there when they bought the land, and it was still there when I visited.
Sometimes, it dried up, either upstream or downstream. No one really cared about it.
Now, my father mentioned going to the creek. The creek is actually the bigger channel of water downstream in which the resort's stream drains, but more on that later.
The source is a few smaller streams that collect from a hill upstream when it rains. There is a lake up there, with a street leading to it and people living there. These people have most likely no clue that a naturist resort is downstream from them, but if they follow one of the channels (river is an exaggeration) from their lake, they will eventually reach the fence of the resort in which a concrete drain tunnel allows water in.
What the resort did is find a sandy area near the creak, and dig a lake next to it. They imported finer sand, and basically designed a nice enough lake for us to swim into.
It's large enough to have fun, and not deep enough to drown.
Once it was completed, they simply diverted the steam to the new lake, waited for it to fill, and then let it drain on the other end where it joined the existing creek.
I have no idea how long it took to fill, but that's the kind of project I hope to do one day to save forests or lakes from drying up. Yes, forests can dry up during a drought, but you can irrigate them, apparently.
In all cases, the water circulation is good enough to prevent most of the algae build-up, but they sometimes have to shift some sand around to prevent dead spots, and they put a sort of diversion in the river filling up the lake to distribute the current.
The output was reinforced since then with concrete to prevent erosion.
We didn't just swim. Mindy found two inflatable rafts and drifted under the sun, talking about school, and boys, and classes.
Did I enjoy the conversation itself? Not the subjects, but the fact that it was occurring. It's odd, but she was treating me like her long-lost best friend and that made me feel, I don't know, loved? Appreciated? Accepted?
At the same time, I was delighted to have someone roughly my age to talk to. To really talk to. I was a shy person, not because I had nothing to say, though I usually don't have much to say, but rather because I find it hard to find people to truly confide in.
And Mindy, somehow, inspired my trust in her,
Most of Mindy's talk was about boys, and I had zero interest in them. I said so much, but I listened and provided emotional feedback, like "No, he didn't" or "Wow, that was cool". You know, stuff you learn at a young age to fit in and refine over the years.
I idly wondered if she was like me when she was at my stage of puberty and wondered if I would be like her when I could eventually catch up to her.
My father later came to fetch us. I presented him to Mindy and to her, my father. She was all polite and deferential, but came back to talking trash about Stacy, whoever she was as soon as he was out of earshot.
I heard all about what she wore to school today, and how she was trying to pass for someone older. Mindy went into almost too many details and I compared how much she paid attention to Stacy's clothing to how little we were supposed to, as a naturist, look at other naturists.
I realized something, while walking to her house. As a naturist, I barely check others, but in day to day life, as a textile, I don't either.
For example, my parents picked me up from school wearing clothes, right? Well, if Mindy asked me what they were wearing, I couldn't answer even if my life depended on it. Even today, I barely notice. I would probably make a horrible witness to a crime.
We ate burgers and hot dogs. And I do mean and. I got a burger and two hot dogs. How? I have no idea. To be clear, I can't eat that much today. I guess I was still growing and the lunch I was getting at school might have not been enough.
My father did get some dessert, an apple pie we had brought, despite his earlier promise not to. I didn't forget, but he seemed to have.
The six of us sat outside, at a single picnic table, each family on a side. I was sitting in front of Mindy, and cramped against my mom who was cramped against my dad.
But there weren't three or even two conversations occurring. We all had a single conversation about the weather, what movies we saw, what we liked eating. In short, catching up.
I did help my father explain a movie, but then, Mindy remembered seeing it with Stacy.
Is it the same she now hates? Probably.
After supper, we played two lawn sports. Horse shoes, which I hated and still hate, and petanque which I love and still enjoy playing. In fact, I played two days ago.
I didn't know either sports. Horseshoe consists of throwing, well, horse shoes, to wrap it on a pole. I sucked at it, I still suck at it, and I hate the very concept. Now, there are lighter plastic ones, but those were heavy and I couldn't throw them far.
Petanque however, was fun. Someone throws a small wooden ball called the jack. Then, you try to throw your big metal ones as close as possible, possibly knocking those of your opponents.
One of the two teams has the closest ball. That team scores points, one for each of their balls closer to the other team's balls.
But, there are two twists, which made me fall in love with the game.
Each of the teams throws two balls at the start, but then, only the team which is the furthest away can play, until they have no balls left, in which case the other team wins.
However, there is another twist. If the jack is knocked off the field, it becomes dead and the round ends without points. Bummer. However, if when it dies, only one team has balls left, and only one, they score one point per ball still unplaced.
This led to a power move by my father. He was, by far, the best player. We each played 2 balls, split into the two families, so 6 per family.
He played the first one, and it landed pretty much on the Jack. Peter, Mindy's dad, couldn't do better, so Mindy's family threw their remaining 5 balls trying to hit my father's ball.
Peter managed to do it, on his second ball, the last of the family, but in the process, he almost knocked out the jack.
It was almost out of the field.
So, my father stepped up (we were playing so that we could play in any order), and hit the jack right on and knocked it right off.
It was a one in a hundred shot, but since I had my two balls, and mom had hers, we won 4 points out of the 13 needed to win the match!
We won the next one, but with only 1 point. It was now 12 to 12.
Well, I still remember it today. Well, to be honest, my family and I still mention it often, but on my last ball, when all hope was lost, I shot short, and accidentally bumped my mother's ball close enough to beat Mindy's in distance to the jack, landing us the victory.
It was starting to get dark, so we cleaned up, and the dads lit a fire in Mindy's designated fireplace, where we grilled marshmallows and prepared s'mores. Personally, I am more of a marshmallow girl, but Mindy preferred s'mores.
We saw on one end, and the parents on the other, so that they could reconnect lost times, and we could bond as besties.
I had fun. I really did. It was late and we were still up. There were a few bugs, but nothing too worrying. I was only bit once by a mosquito, if I remember well.
Eventually, both Mindy and I were tired, so while we made the bed, my mother grabbed my toothbrush, my pillow and my bear from our cabin.
We ended up brushing our teeth next to each other, often joking around and "accidentally" hitting each other with our elbows, laughing and sending toothpaste all over.
We cleaned up, but then, went all calm and used the two sheet technique to get to bed.
When Mindy noticed the bear, she laughed and opened her drawer. There was a pile of pictures. She picked one and showed it to me.
It was her, and me, on a coach, nude, each holding a stuffed animal. I had Mr. Bear, in much better shape, and visibly bigger since I was smaller, and she had a purple elephant.
As I was holding the picture, she went into her closet, and retrieved the elephant, which also had seen better days.
"I had hidden it because I didn't want to look like a baby, but I usually sleep with it"
"I didn't even think about it. My mom packed it. I am a little overwhelmed"
"Tell me about it.", she says. "Your parents are nicer than I thought"
I decided to ignore her. "I had fun tonight", I said.
"Me too. I can't wait for tomorrow", she says, getting between the two sheets. I got under both, and I turned off the light.
"Julie?", eventually said Mindy
"For what?", I ask
"For being my friend."
I was stunned. She was the one who seemed to have it easy making friends. I was the loner.
"Do you want to exchange scary stories?", asked Mindy
This tugged at me. I so desperately wanted to share that moment with her, but I also needed some sleep.
"Maybe just a little?"
"Yeah, just a little.", she said
Mindy began telling the story of kids, nude about a bonfire, telling each other stories. She was rather innovative in her voices and how each of the characters were reacting. She did confuse a few, but hey, she was 12! Most of the stories were lame, like a monster reaching out from the flame, and then, the kids realizing it was a parent asking their child to come to bed. She screamed a few times for jump scare, and even cut to let me try my hand at regular intervals. Mine weren't as good as hers, but I was slowly getting the hang of it.
It was interesting. She had a framing device, characters, a background. Honestly, I was impressed. Between you and me, it's only later that I learned it was from Peter, when he would tell her bedtime stories, but that evening, I was thrilled.
At the end, however, only two kids remained, and their parents were asleep. They knew because they were asleep in hammocks nearby and they could see them, being attacked alive by mosquitoes, something which Mindy played for fun, but which honestly, was probably the scariest part of the tale for me.
I laughed too. We redid the bed, and talked a few more minutes.
"Those were all I could think of, sorry", she said.
"It was nice. Sorry I didn't have many", I told her
"Maybe we can invent new ones. I can't be that hard", she said
"Wait, you didn't invent yours?", I said, confused
"Holy shit, did you improvise yours?" she said, sitting in the bed
"You are good"
"They sucked compared to yours", I told her
"But they are not mine. That's the point. I collected them, from people who collected them, from other people who collected them. You created yours and that's epic", she told me.
That night, I decided that one day, I would be an author.
I wished her a good night, she did so too.
I held Mr Bear close to my chest, and waited for sleep to take me.
After an afternoon in the sun, it wasn't long.