Sleep Away & Thank You

  This post was originally supposed to go up before “Like Pancake” as it takes place before high school. I am trying to be as chronological as possible, but sometimes that doesn’t quite happen. I really want to make sure I thank all those who helped me during the dark and difficult times that I went through. (I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, so if you think I’m making a reference I probably am.)

  For three summers in middle school, I went to a sleep-away horseback riding camp for two weeks. It was a gift from my grandfather. My best friend from elementary school and another of our friends were there too. These were some of the best times I had during my rough childhood years.

  Some of my favorite memories include when a goose took a photo with my disposable camera and when a camp counselor falling asleep and burning one half of his face prompting me to call him Two-Face for the rest of my time there that summer.

  My camp counselors made an unbelievable impact in my life and I don’t think they know it. Well, maybe a few know, but I’m not sure they understand the extent to which they helped me. I wish that I could get back in contact with some of the ones the helped me the most. I want them to know that I am so thankful and grateful.

  There is one that I am still in touch with. He can have no idea how much he helped me through the challenging childhood that I had. I still have all the letters he sent me and the photos of us together will always be treasured. He holds a special place in my heart and always will. For proof, I have a giant stuffed animal named after him. That’s a huge honor if you recall how important my stuffed animals are to me.

  Seems odd to say that, but the truth of the situation is that he’s only 8 years older than I am. I met him when I was 12 and he was 20. Of course, I had a crush on him. I was 12. I liked boys. He was nice to me in a time when not many were. But, while I had a crush on him, at camp it was the boys my age I flirted with (mostly). I shouldn’t have to state that nothing happened and he didn’t behave in an inappropriate manner ever; but, to make it perfectly clear, there was nothing but a friendship.

  I am realistic, however. He lives in Australia and I’m in California. Just because we now in a place where it could be a possibility doesn’t mean that it would actually work. Something I want to make perfectly clear, while I am able to express my emotions on another person, it doesn’t mean that I believe they share the same emotions. I don’t expect them to and honestly, I don’t need them too.

  I have told this person how I feel. He’s still talking to me and is my friend and that’s all I care about. I would rather have this person as my friend forever than to risk the friendship being destroyed. I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t understand. You can want someone to care for you, but that doesn’t mean they will. What’s more important, having your friend by your side or losing them by trying to force something that isn’t necessarily meant to be?

  I am not saying don’t tell people how you feel and I’m not saying you always should. In some cases, that’s not a good idea. I felt safe telling this person how I felt because of the distance. He wasn’t right there. I said it with zero expectations. The only thing I wanted is for him to know that he had a special place in my heart and I appreciated him being there for me in a time when not many people were.

  I haven’t seen him since camp and I hope I get to see him at some point. It’s my friend I want to see and I don’t plan on making things more complicated. So, if he’s reading this. Thank you for everything you did. You helped me more than you can possibly imagine. To any camp counselor who may come across this, thank you. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your time. Thank you for caring.