Nerd Camp And A Girl - 06.05.00

It was summer camp during junior high when I had what I would qualify as my first real crush. Sure, I'd thought that certain girls were cute before that, but they were nothing too special because they were just another member of my small class who I'd gone to school with my whole life. The summer camp girl was different, though. Not only was she from a different town, but she had bright red hair and even her name ("Sasha") seemed completely exotic to me.

The camp that I was attending was a science (read "nerd") camp, and it was a week of activities that were basically fun for kids to do, yet taught them something about science in a roundabout way. We took 2-liter pop bottles and shot them into the sky using water pressure, we hooked up a sensor to a foosball table and read the mph of the ball as it went into the goal, and we did wind resistance experiments with frisbees. It was a good time, and we even had an adventure course with a zip line that we went through at the end of the week.

From the very beginning, though, I sort of had my eye on the girl named Sasha. She was attending the camp with several other people from her school (as was I) and during the first day or so, breaking out of one group and into another seemed like the most difficult thing in the world. One the second day, though, I was lucky and we were somehow picked for the same group of about 10 for an activity. It was during this group that we first talked, and it was during this group activity that my crush on her really began.

As the week went by, I saw her more and more and we talked during free times and had some good conversations (for 8th graders). On the very last night of camp for the week, the camp counselors put together a large bonfire with roasted marshmallows and smores for all the campers. When we all started to file in around the thing for the evening, I sat down on a bench and waited. Just before it was time to start, the girls all came up from their cabin and Sasha sat down right next to me. I have no idea if we even touched awkwardly at any point during that next hour, but I felt like the luckiest guy in the world knowing that she could have sat anywhere around the entire circle and she chose to sit down by me.

After we went back to our cabins on that last night, all the guys I was rooming with were giving me crap about liking a girl and I tried to play it down. Sure, I had a crush on the girl, but she live in a town that was 50 miles away from me and I was about 3 years from getting my drivers license. I think even in that naive', 8th grade state-of-mind I knew it was doomed, but I held onto my hopes. The last ritual of the camp was wearing the t-shirt that they gave you and walking around to have everyone sign it with a marker before their parents took them home.

When I went up to Sasha, I still had hopes that somehow I would see her again after I left. I didn't know how it was possible, and I signed her shirt and she signed mine with a little smiley face next to my name. It was on the back of my shoulder and I wouldn't even see it until I got home later that day, but seeing that little smiley face seemed to make things just a little bit better. Just before we said goodbye, I asked her for her phone number and address, just in case.

The next few days at home were strange. I really wanted to call her, but I didn't want to tell my parents about the crush that I had for some reason. Instead, I took some money that I'd earned from my paper-route and rode down to the quick shop in town and cashed in 5 dollars for a roll of quarters. I then went to a phone booth in town that nobody ever seemed to use, plugged in my quarters, and dialed her number.

It was her mom that answered and it took a couple moments for Sasha to get to the phone after her mom had called for her. When she got on the phone, I suddenly felt embarrassed that I'd even called and after only talking for a minute or so, the operator got on the line and I had to insert more money.

Even though it was only a small break in our conversation, it was enough that when I got back to talking with her, things seemed different than before. I knew that we didn't have a whole lot of time to talk and the quarters were dwindling in my hand, but I just wanted to have a conversation that somehow reinforced the idea that she still thought about me, even if it was just a little. By the end of the phonecall, I still uncomfortable about things and by the time I ran out of money and time, I was in mid-sentence.

Instead of simply telling my parents about it and calling using the phone at our house, I took some more money and put it in an envelope with a letter to Sasha. I asked her if she would use the money to call me and put it in the mail hoping that I'd thought of the best solution to my problem of being young and living in another city as the person that I liked.

I never heard from her again.