On my twelfth birthday my parents sent me to a summer camp. I don’t know if they considered it as a nice present or just intended to get rid of me for three weeks, but I climbed the bus and went off.
My previous camp experience was extremely and hopelessly boring, so I prepared for the worst. But this time it was different.
To start with, I arrived late in the day when other kids were already involved in playing soccer. At my twelve, I wore very short hair, was small, energetic and rarely recognized as a girl. In the hustle of the game there was no time for formal introducing, and everybody decided that I was a boy. No doubts, I looked like one. So, as a boy, I was immediately included into a team that won a half hour later. It was my first discrimination experience, but I enjoyed it!
I became friends with a girl who came to the camp with her brother. On the second day she pulled me into a secret corner and confessed that her brother was totally in love with me. She was delegated to ask if he had a chance to be my boyfriend.
I didn’t really like that boy, besides he was one year younger, but it was the first time when somebody wanted to be my boyfriend at all, so I said ok. Next day I discovered that my friend’s brother was very amorous and I wasn’t his only girlfriend; there were three more. I went through my first breakup and was very proud of myself.
On the third day I fell in love. With two boys. They were friends, and both liked me, and I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. One was taller, the other was smarter. One was funny, the other had curly hair. I happened to be in the middle of the love triangle with no way out, and I stayed in it all three weeks. I was very happy; I think all of us were.
I remember those three weeks as a sunlit summer full of first things, as well as swimming, and playing, and running, and swinging… They were my best holidays ever. It also happened to be my last camp tour and the end of my childhood. Every time I look at the old photos I see my shiny face and feel a bit of nostalgia for something that will never come back.