The Summer I Fell in Love

When a young man and lifetime mommy's boy goes away to sleep away camp, the last thing on his mind is meeting a girl. But when he meets Taylor, he is thrown a curveball as he finds himself falling in love. Now, plagued with jealous best friends and hormonally charged emotions, Kevin must make the biggest decision ever: let Taylor go or go after her?

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5. Off The Beaten Track

The next thing I knew, Izzy was shaking me awake. I sat up in a daze and Izzy said, “Breakfast is starting in 10 minutes, we had better grab a seat.” He wandered outside while I changed. I pulled on board shorts and a white crew neck T-Shirt, my signature shark tooth necklace and flip flops and my glasses (I am blind without them). I then tore out of the room and sprinted to the mess hall, narrowly running over a young group of girls in the process. As soon as I stepped inside I noticed Ryan sitting with Casey, Izzy and Ty. I ran over and sat down, putting my foot on the chair next to me so as to save it for Taylor.    I asked Casey, “Where is Taylor? Isn’t she in your cabin?” Casey answered, “Taylor slept late and she will be here momentarily, last I saw her she was freshening up.” Pleased with that assessment, I sat back in my chair as the mountain of breakfast food was divvied up and distributed to the tables. As we said the Lord’s Prayer, I noticed Taylor framed in the doorway, praying with the rest of us.    As soon as prayer was done, I waved Taylor down and she ran over to us and sat down, apologizing for her lateness. Several minutes went by in pure silence as we shovelled in pancakes, sausages, poached eggs and hash browns. Finally, stuffed as turkeys, we sat back and talked about the day ahead. Taylor asked me, “What activities are you doing today?” I replied, “I am doing the same thing every day all week. I chose mountain biking in the morning, rock climbing before lunch, and canoeing after lunch.” She laughed and said, “We are doing the same activities, at the same time, all week. What a small world.”    With the both of us excited to start our activities, I ran to my room. I wriggled into a pair of stone washed jeans, laced up my running shoes and biker’s gloves, strapped on my helmet and slipped on my prescription sunglasses. Then, I grabbed a filled water bottle and headed out the door, ready for action. On my way out of the lodge, I ran into Taylor. As we headed down the steps and walked up the road to the bike shack, we began to make conversation. I asked her, “Do you have your own bike at home?” She replied coolly, “A Mountain Trek with a durable frame and 21 gears.” I was surprised and said, “Really, that’s hardcore. I have my own bike at home too, a bit older but super durable. At least it’s nice to meet someone that knows what they are doing on the mountain bikes, a lot of people do it just for the heck of it and when you don’t know what you are doing, you don’t grasp the same experience.”    She nodded and opened her mouth to speak but before she could we reached the bike shack. We ducked under the low door of the shack and were immediately taken aback by the smell of chain oil and sweat. We burrowed our noses under our shirts because the smell was so horrendous. We were the first ones there and so the two counsellors that were leading it told us we had first pick on the bikes that lined the walls. I picked the two best bikes, which I had spotted last summer drowning in a pile of the worst bikes, and passed them to Taylor, who wheeled them outside. I jumped down and followed her outside into the glaring sun    By the time Taylor and I had packed our bikes with water and given our gears a look over the other bikers had arrived and were ready to bike. The female counsellor, who was obviously the leader of the group, spoke up over the crowd of rowdy kids and said, “Hello all you bikers, my name is Katelyn and I am the leader of the mountain biking activity here at Pinewood. If we follow some basic rules I am sure we can have a lot of fun. Okay: no smashing into other peoples bikes, take it easy on the corners, and shift gears when I tell you to. Okay, now let’s go.” And so, without another word, she mounted her bike and tore down the road in an eloquent plume of dust.    Taylor and I did the same and as we came neck and neck with each other she asked over the roar of the wind, “Do you want to race?” I shrugged my shoulder and said, “Sure, but just be careful on the corners, the gravel is very loose.” As she passed me and her feet pounded the pedals, she nodded but I had a feeling she had not heard me.    Deciding to get thrown under the bus, I powered my bike through the now thick grass trail and passed Taylor. I would trail blaze for her and if I got hurt, so be it. I stayed ahead of Taylor the whole trip and it went by quite uneventfully.    About five kilometers into the 20 kilometer trek, I noticed a tight corner coming up. I signalled to Taylor to slow down so as to make the corner easily and as soon as I turned around I saw a rabbit right in the middle of the trail. I began to freak out and slammed on the front brake, but it was useless as the nearly bald tires on my bike slid madly in the loose dirt. My bike managed to spin itself so that my bike was moving rapidly backwards. Still clutching the brake, I turned my head with gritted teeth, searching for a soft landing. There was no soft landing, just a steep drop-off and some scraggly trees.    After quick consideration, I decided to jump off but before I could, the bike tipped. One leg was crushed under the weight of the bike but the other was free. I looked around for a second, realizing I had fallen over the edge and was lying in the drop-off. I tried to wriggle my way out but before I could I heard a scream from above me and a crushing weight came down on my free leg and torso. I looked down and saw the mass was Taylor, who had followed my path and was now lying on top of me. She got up quickly and apologized over and over again.    We got up painfully and assessed the damage. I had a small scrape on my hand and Taylor had a gash on her cheek but other than that we were fine.  Once we had regained our breath we began to devise a plan to get us out of the hole (the other bikers had failed to notice our predicament and had passed us by). I gave Taylor a boost and she desperately grasped at the rocky ledge. After a few tries, she finally succeeded and after much more effort pulled herself up. I passed the intact bikes to her and then began to pull myself up.    As I searched for a foothold that would help me up, I said, “Well Taylor, we have saved each other enough times, I would say we are even.” Taylor replied, “We are even… for now. It is only the first day at camp and I can guarantee you we will be in a few more predicaments before the week is over don’t you agree?”    As I pulled myself to safety and flopped on the ground, I said, “Now, don’t be so negative or negative things will happen.” She laughed and as she handed me my water bottle I saw a look on her face that told me she was really happy, her eyes glinted so excitedly it was almost as though she had just walked through an electric socket.    After a moment of repacking and resetting our gears, we headed back to the trail. We took the next 12 or 13 kilometers very slowly, in fear of another accident and succeeded. As we neared the end of the trail, we realized we would be cutting through the meadow we had sneaked into the night before. Against my better judgement, I let Taylor go first. As she slid past me, my water bottle slid out of it’s holster onto the forest floor. I braked, picked it up and began to manoeuvre it back into it’s holster when all of a sudden I heard a great cry from within the meadow, and I knew it was Taylor.    I dropped my bike and ran into the meadow almost robotically. I noticed Taylor lying in the pool of water at the base of the waterfall. I ran over to her and she cried out in pain as I helped her up. I assessed her wounds and noticed her wrist was swelling terribly. We quickly devised a plan of action so as to get back to the lodge and nurse her wrist. I would walk her out to the lodge while carrying our packs and get her help, and then I would come back for the bikes. It proved an efficient plan and only 10 minutes after the accident, we had reached the lodge.    I grasped Taylor supportively by the shoulder and led her to the nurse’s office. By a stroke of sheer dumb luck, the nurse was not seeing anyone and took her in immediately. I sat in the chairs by the office and listened carefully at the door. I could not hear much and all of a sudden, the door flew open and nearly knocked me back.    The nurse said to me, “She took a pretty bad fall and her wrist is swelling but not broken, she will be out of the activities until after lunch.” I breathed a sigh of relief as Taylor came running out, flashing a taped wrist my way. I then proceeded to help her upstairs to the main lounge, where she plopped into an overstuffed lounge chair and promptly fell asleep. I figured she would be good, so I headed outside and jogged down to the rock climbing wall.  

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