My last morning at camp began with a wake up from SkinnyBitch, who decided jumping on top of me in my bed was just the way to start my day. My cabinmates, in an act of selflessness, had let me sleep til 10am, my record for the event.
I was grumpy and upset, like every other morning, but I knew I needed to pack. Instead of dividing up my clothes as I had hoped, I simply shoved everything in where I could. I got most of my things in bags before I threw on my comfy clothes, including my riding jacket, which hugged my body tight. The sensation gave me a small modicum of comfort, like a warm blanket on a cold night.
With my things ready to be thrown in my car, there still remained the issue of Gray’s flogger. I told my cabinmates I would be right back and, implement in tow, I headed down to Gray’s cabin.
When I peeked inside, though, no one was there. The small sting of worry pinged me. Did Gray already leave? Shit, if he did, how am I suppose to get the flogger back to him?
I happened to glance up on mantle behind the beds. There I saw the apple I’d given him in his Kinkbusters class. Reassured I had not missed him, I stepped outside the cabin and asked those close by if anyone had seen him. They said no, so I walked away, contemplating circling the camp once more.
As I left, though, I saw Chris and Thanos again. Greeting them, I asked if they had seen Gray. In fact, they had; he was in the Dining Hall. Thanking them and parting, I headed down the lane.
As I walked in, I was incredibly nervous. The hall was packed with people. I scanned the crowd and finally saw him sitting next to Murphy. It was as if my life planned this shit. As I walked over, Gray saw me and stood.
“So, you forgot this.”
I presented the flogger to him. Gray accepted, hugging me. He apologized for flaking on the scene from the previous night, sighting his throbbing ankle and general exhaustion from the event. I told him it was okay, informing him I had flaked too. But I also admitted I would have push through if Gray had wanted to suspend me. He thanked me for the thought, but instead offered a rain-check and suggested we exchange information.
I don’t know what brought it up, but Gray happened to mention the HBO series Game of Thrones. In a moment of pure geek, I began one of my signature “Oh my God” statements, ready to expound on how much I loved the show. He quickly stopped me, saying he had not yet seen the last episode. I held my giddiness at bay, though I did note the last five minutes of the last episode were amazing.
As Gray sat back down, I tried to exchange information with Murphy. Murphy, though, decided he was going to spout out his number too quickly for me to get it into my phone. When I tried to get him to slow down, he handed me a card, asking me to contact him through one of the mediums listed. He would get back to me. I hugged him as well and then left.
I could feel the emotions starting to take hold, threatening to overcome me. I was pleased how things were left with Gray and Murphy. I knew I would stay in contact with both of them. It felt like I’d bonded with them over the past four days. That fleeting moment in the Dining Hall ended my interactions with Gray and Murphy on a good note.
Walking back to the cabin, I checked in with my cabinmates. Most everyone was ready to start packing cars. I walked up to the parking lot, grabbed my car, and parked in front of the cabin.
On the way to my vehicle, I had texted some friends to see if I could do my usual verbal mind dump of my event with them. When I arrived back at the cabin, my friends texted back saying they were unable to help. There were work issues and they would not be available to see me for a few days.
I broke. I didn’t know what to do. My established post-camp ritual was gone. I more fell than sat on the bed behind me. Curling up my chest into my lap, I started crying. As I balled my eyes out, I realized I had taken Darian’s advice. Normally I would’ve run to the bathroom, closed the stall door, and wept alone, hiding my emotions from everyone. Instead I let my friends see the pain I was in, the hurt racing through me.
Deep_End walked over and put his arms around me. I cried into his embrace. When I regained composure, I explained my normal post-camp ritual was not possible. Deep_End asked why I would run to talk to my other friends when I could just stay at home with my new roommates. After all, that was to be my new life. I agreed, mentally noting I would find another way to get my story in voice recordings.
Labyrinth; The End
My crying finished, we started packing our cars. SkinnyBitch and I were able to cram a lot into the two sedans we’d all come up in.
With the vehicles secured, Deep_End & FlapJackSlim walked off to go say their goodbyes, as did SkinnyBitch & TinyGiraffe. I then realized I had some time with them gone; I decided to walk the Labyrinth again.
Taking Tessie, my stuffed turtle and sleeping buddy, along, I headed across the grass towards my eventual destination.
Once there, I removed my shoes, took five deep breaths, and began walking.
With each step, memories and emotions from camp washed over me. All the wonderful, beautiful instances of pleasure and ecstasy were reinforced. I remembered the fun times, the good things, the amazing moments. When I reached the center, the kernel of my camp, the sentence, the essence of my time spent those past four days flooded over me.
During my conversation with Deep_End, I happened to talk about experiencing camp by myself. I always had my family to run back to, but my camp experience was mostly me living and being, just me. “I am, in and of myself, a whole, awesome, and complete person.”
I began repeating this line as I walked the last bit of the path. When I finished, I looked up at the sky, I breathed my five deep breaths, and I felt joy. I felt happiness. I felt secure, and grounded, and loved. I was one with all that was good and right in the world.
Shoes back on, and Tessie in tow, I walked back towards the cabin. I didn’t feel pain anymore. I was centered, balanced, okay.
This was the camp I was suppose to have, the feelings, and emotions, and experiences I was suppose to have, and it’s all good.
Once I got back, everyone slowly began returning. We packed into our two cars and headed off; I was ready to go home.
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