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    « Concentration: Camp (part 2) | Main | Scar Tissue »

    Concentration: Camp (part 1)

            There have been a few moments in my life when I felt something instantly shift inside of me, and I suddenly knew that I would never be the same. Moments when something within gets moved so drastically that my inner landscape is altered forever. It feels like an explosion.
            This explosion destroys what was there before, and creates a New Awareness. And The Awareness has a voice that says “You are different now”.
            One of those moments occurred on June 12, 2008, after I saw principessa for the first time after she broke up with me. Another one of those moments happened when I was ten years old. My first day of camp.
            The first nine years of my life, I spent every day of the summer in North Falmouth on Cape Cod. I loved it there. My twin brother and I had lots of friends, with two of them living right next door. We sailed in the morning, swam in the afternoon, and played baseball at night until it got so dark you couldn’t see the ball. The games would always end when either somebody’s parent would show up or one of us got clobbered by a ball we could barely see. In between all that, we would play street hockey, super heroes, and the occasional rainy day game of monopoly, which usually ended in a fight.
             By all accounts, it was a perfect way for a boy to spend the summer.
             And then, at ten years old, we got sent to camp for the month of July.
             For weeks before we went, everybody was telling me to “watch out for your twin brother”. Mike wasn’t fat like me, and he was shorter. He was also quieter, wore glasses, and was more introverted. People misinterpreted all that as signs of frailty. They thought that I would love camp, and that Mike would have a hard time.
             Boy did planet earth misread that one.
             When we arrived at camp, I was relatively excited. They separated Mike and I so that we were in two different cabins. That didn’t seem like a big deal. All seemed to be going okay.
             Then. That moment.
             My parents pulled away in their Buick Electra 225 as I waved goodbye at the edge of camp. Mike had already said goodbye and was nowhere to be found, a clear portent of things to come. I turned away from the car and looked down the wide, tree lined path that lead to Iroquois Village, my home for the next month.
             All of a sudden, as I stared down that empty path, I froze. I felt a sickening rush that I had never before experienced. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my head felt like it was on fire. My body was immobile, and as heavy as lead. Inside, the whole of my chest sank, plummeted actually, right out of my body. I felt completely empty. Where but a second ago there resided in me an energy and a vitality and a vibrant, beating heart, now, there was nothing. Nothing but pain and sorrow.
             At that moment, I felt my life ripped out of me. In an instant, my life went from just fine to complete misery.
             And all I did was turn around.
             The other shoe had dropped. No. The other boot had dropped. No. The other impossibly massive, steel toed boot had just kicked my insides right out of me.
             And all I did was turn around.
             I felt totally alone. And I was scared to death. To Death.
             I knew, at that moment, that the next month of my life was going to be a kind of hell that I had never even dreamed about. I didn’t know why. But I knew.
             And all I did was turn around.
             I carry that fear with me to this day. That fear that life can inexplicably and suddenly become a nightmare by simply turning around. It’s not usually up, but it’s always with me. Deep inside, there is still that sensation of utter emptiness, excruciating agony, and complete loneliness.
             It’s a scar that has not completely healed. Not yet.
             But it will. I can feel it.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a camp full of Wrongs) Reserved.

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