Swanna in Love


“I’m going to stay on the bus because my mother doesn’t know that my dad made special plans to pick me up, and when she comes someone in the office can just tell her.”

“She is supposed to be on the bus,” Jacquie said. She was standing in the aisle.

“I’m sure your parents communicated with each other,” the man said.

“I’m sure they didn’t,” I said.

I started to head back to my seat but the man literally grabbed my arm. He actually blocked my way and sort of forced me off the bus like an SS officer in Nazi Germany, and the doors closed in front of me. I just stood there holding Jacquie’s copy of the Weekly Wag.

I watched the bus drive down the dirt road, past the infirmary and the tennis courts, until it was out of sight.

I went to the office cabin to call my father, but the door was locked. I went to the phone booth on the porch of the canteen and dialed my father’s number with a 0 in front of it. “Collect call from Swanna,” I told the operator.

But the phone rang and he didn’t pick up. “The party you are trying to reach is unavailable,” the operator said after I forced her to try three times. He was probably out buying some snacks for me to eat when I got home. I couldn’t wait to pop open a Tab.

I never saw a place empty out so fast. Over the next three hours, the counselors, music and dance teachers, the entire staff hot-tailed it out of there. It was sad, like when you see a clown smoking a cigarette before the circus. Seeing camp empty kind of ruined it. There was not a scrap of food left on the entire campus.

There had been one car in the parking lot, but when I came back from trying my father again, I was startled to see it gone.

I sat on the grassy hill with a scowl on my face.



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