Trust No One: An Original Short Story
It was a totally normal Saturday night at Camp Pine Tree. My bunk had just finished dinner, and we were playing Nosies to decide who would clean the table. How you play Nosies is that the person who cleaned the table at the last meal puts her finger on her nose, and everybody else was supposed to put her finger on her nose after the person who cleaned the table at the last meal. The last girl with her finger on her nose was the girl who cleaned the table. Nikki had cleaned the table at lunch earlier today, so I watched her until she put her finger on her nose. When I saw that she had put her finger on her nose, I placed my index finger on my nose.
“DIA!!!!!” Lydia, the meanest girl in camp (and perhaps in the world) barked.
“What?” I asked.
“That’s not the correct way to put your finger on your nose.” Lydia said. I glanced down at my nose. My index finger appeared to be just where I left it.
“But my finger is on my nose. What am I doing wrong?” I wondered.
“You have to put your hand on your nose, not your finger.” Lydia said.
“That way, it’s more discreet.” Evalynn, Lydia’s loyal follower, said.
“But–” I started.
“No buts.” Lydia cut me off. “I make the rules.”
“Yeah.” Evalynn agreed. “She’s the boss.” I felt tears about to spill out of my eyes like my eyes were waves crashing onto the shoreline of my face. But I knew that if I cried, Lydia and Evalynn would call me a baby for the rest of camp, so I didn’t cry and I obeyed Lydia.
After every table was finished cleaning, Dougie, the regular announcement guy, stepped up to the mic situated in the middle of the dining hall.
“Good evening, Camp Pine Tree!” Dougie said, trying to imitate the local weather man.
“What’s up, Dougie?” The whole camp chorused.
“Well, I’ll tell you what’s up.” Dougie responded. “Tonight, we have a…”
“SATURDAY NIGHT SOCIAL!” Camp Pine Tree finished the sentence. Cheers erupted from every corner of the dining hall.
“I bet Dia’s gonna bring her book and sit in the corner and read.” Lydia fake-whispered to Evalynn.
“What a freak.” Evalynn laughed, and she and Lydia fist-bumped. My face probably turned bright purple.
Interrupting the chatter that now filled the dining hall, Dougie announced, “It’s time to find out which bunk is sweeping the dining hall tonight. And the bunk sweeping the dining hall tonight is…Girls’ Bunk 27!”
Fiddlesticks. I thought to myself. That’s my bunk.
A few minutes later, after everyone else had cleared the dining hall, my bunk remained. I grabbed a broom and started sweeping the floor. I had been sweeping for about 2 minutes when I felt somebody behind me. I turned around to see who it was. Oh, joy. I thought to myself. The person behind me turned out to be Lydia.
“You’re using that broom wrong.” Lydia proclaimed.
“I’m sweeping the floor. What am I doing wrong?” I wondered.
“You’re supposed to use it to sweep around the columns, like this.” Lydia demonstrated with her broom.
I just looked at her with a vacant stare.
“FINE, I’LL DO IT!” Lydia screamed. She snatched the broom right out of my hands and gave me a look that said, I want to scrape your skin off with a butter knife.
I had had enough. I marched over to my counselor, Marisol, who was standing by the door.
“Marisol? Can I talk to you about something?” I asked.
“Sure, Dia. What’s up?” Marisol replied.
“Lydia’s and Evalynn’s behavior towards me have been incredibly obnoxious. In the past thirty minutes, they have said that I put my finger on my nose wrong, called me a freak just because I am a voracious reader, and claimed that I was using my broom incorrectly when I was sweeping the floor with it.” I explained.
“Let’s go for a walk.” Marisol said, and we walked out of the door.
“Dia, I’m so sorry that Lydia and Evalynn have been treating you so rudely. Believe me, I know what it’s like to experience that type of behavior.” Marisol said.
“If you don’t mind my asking, how do you know how I feel?” I asked.
“Because the kids at school bullied me.” Marisol sighed. “They teased me for getting good grades and reading every spare second I had. But mostly, they called me fat and made rude comments about my weight multiple times every day.”
“Marisol, I’m so sorry. I had no idea people treated you that way! You are so happy, kind, pretty and confident. How did you get your confidence back?”
“Well, I got my confidence back because I started belly dancing at age 12 because I started to believe it when the other kids said I was fat.” Marisol confessed.
“And you solved that problem by dancing with ALMOST NO CLOTHING ON?!?!?” I wondered.
“I know it seems crazy, but bellydance has been the best thing that ever happened to me. When I was 16, I joined the national bellydance team and ever since then, I’ve been traveling the world with my team and competing against other countries.” My counselor explained
“Wow, that’s so cool, Marisol!” I exclaimed. “But back to Lydia and Evalynn: how do you think we should deal with them?”
“I’m so sorry, Dia. I can’t help you with that.” Marisol said. “If I could, I would, but I can’t.”
One word burned inside of me like an eternal flame: WHY?