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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7. The Realization

   I walked over to her and asked, “Do you need a hand with that?” Without waiting for an answer, I pulled it up over my shoulders and together we portaged it down to the beach. As soon as we had plopped it into the water with a tremendous splash, I heard the counsellor yell, “Okay, whoever you portaged with is your partner. You guys are seniors so you know the rules. I want you to row out to that buoy,’ he pointed a finger to a buoy about 500 feet from shore, ‘and do a single and then a team rescue, now get going.”    I pushed us offshore and as we began to row I noticed Taylor made her strokes gently and professionally. I asked, “How did you become so good at rowing, you seem at home in the canoe?” While keeping her strokes consistent she said, “My older brother Steve taught me the basic strokes and I really caught on. After I hit a small rapid when I was 10 I was hooked and I have been going ever since.”    After that, there seemed nothing to talk about and so we decided to just enjoy the tranquil silence as everyone else seemed to still on shore (they kept getting caught on the rocks). We rowed out to the buoy in good time (15 minutes) and we began our rescue. At first, the rescue was looking good but the problems began when the canoe flipped and filled with water then the 25 pound cement brick anchor had floated to the bottom and lodged itself in the mud, after the rope had unravelled from the boat.     Not deterred, we decided to leave the anchor where it was, vowing to return it later. Unfortunately, we were faced with the process of flipping the canoe back over by ourselves. I looked at Taylor and she said, “You will have to do a Capistrano flip one person because I am far too cold and my muscles are tight. You can do it Kevin, I believe in you!” I mutter half-heartedly to myself, “I believe in me too, to a degree.”    I ducked underwater and surfacing beneath the canoe, I braced my shoulders and flipped the canoe over with one big heave. Then I hopped into the canoe and Taylor tossed me the bailing bucket which I unscrewed the lid and slowly began to empty the water out of the canoe as Taylor sat patiently; now shivering in the frigid water.    After almost an hour of bailing and several near flips, we finally got the water to a manageable level. I turned to Taylor who was now visibly freezing and said, “Okay hop in but be careful, I really don’t want to flip us again.” She agreed and as she sprung up out of the water and did a seal flop into the canoe not two inches in front of me. She steadied herself in the canoe and slid to the back seat and as soon as she was seated we faced each other and began to laugh, happy at our success.    We laughed for a long while, flicking our heads back and shutting our eyes, resting mentally and physically for the trip back. After about 10 minutes of deep relaxing breathing, a shrill whistle blow pierced the calm air. I was so surprised that I slid off my seat and smashed my back into the pointy metal ribs of the boat. I opened my eyes and peered in the direction of the noise. On the shore stood the canoe leader with an annoyed look on his face waving us in. I gave him the thumbs up and he walked off in the direction of the lodge. As I moved to sit back on the seat I slid in the ankle high water collecting in the bottom of the boat and fell face first. I stood up fast and hit my head hard on the thwarts.    I felt blood running from my face as I swore under my breath. I slid beneath the thwarts Taylor’s side as she said, “Let me take a look at that, we are the unluckiest pair of people in the world!” I laughed as she looked me over and confirmed I had a large cut across my nose as I hit the bar full on. She braced me in the dangerously teetering canoe and began rummaging carefully in the medical kit to pull out a bandage.    To my amazement, as she pulled out a bandage I felt raindrops cascading down my face. I looked up and saw a massive dark cloud had grown out of the once gorgeous blue sky and fat droplets of rain poured from it in a slight drizzle. Taylor and I laughed and I said, “Well this is just perfect.”    After a few moments she got the bandage to stick successfully. I asked, “How do I look?” She examined me and said, “You look pretty bad ass!” I laughed, thanked her and looked in the direction of the lodge, only to discover I could not see it. A large cloud of fog had enveloped us and turned visibility to nearly zero. On top of that, the previous light drizzle had now morphed into a torrential downpour. In addition, the waves had acted up and were rocking the boat back and forth.    I looked at Taylor through the torrential rain and I got that strange, floating feeling in my stomach. But something inside that feeling was different than the feelings before it. Something had clicked something small but at the same time monumental. And as I looked at her, her hair plastered to her gorgeous face and her crystal blue eyes tinged with the same feeling, I realized I was in love with Taylor.    I cleared my throat and nervously said, “Taylor, there is something you should know. Over the past few days I have gotten to know you in such a deep way I cannot believe it! I learned you have a good kick to you, that you have a hearty appetite for bacon wrapped hotdogs, that you are an inviting person that everyone feels comfortable around, that you are really close to your mother and brother, and that you have a dark side. But I have also realized that I am in love with you. And I also know that I am going to kiss you right now.”    I waited a moment with eyes closed as she processed it and I opened my eyes just in time to see her nod and shut her eyes, her lips poised for a kiss. I leaned in close, cupping her face gently with my hand as I brushed the hair out of my eyes. Then, I leaned in closer and it happened: our lips connected for the first time. It felt like a dream as we kissed, time seemed to stop as that feeling of love grew stronger. Taylor stood up and so did I and we continued to kiss until a gust of wind caught the underside of the boat and sent us flying into the now frigid water.    As we began to sink we broke away from the kiss and pushed to the surface, gasping for air. Taylor said, “That is freezing! Oh by the way I have to mention while I remember that you are really good at kissing.” As we began to pull ourselves back onto the canoe I said, “I have had a lot of practice but I have to tell you I have never kissed someone that passionately!”    As soon as we got into the canoe, we sat on our knees not bothering with seats and began to paddle powerfully in the direction of the lodge (now visible through the receding fog). We paddled through the massive waves for 15 minutes, the spray occasionally blinding us until we finally reached the shore. We scrambled ashore, pulled the canoe to safety and began to run up the sloping lawn to the lodge. We slipped and we slid on the muddy grass, bracing each other as one of us was always on the ground.  

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