I was awakened the next morning hearing my name called softly.
I opened my eyes startled. He put his hand over my mouth as I figured out my surroundings.
"Sorry, about that," he said taking his hand off, "I thought you might scream." I nodded.
He said, "I'm leaving."
"What time is it?" I asked.
He said, ". I had a good time last night." And he was gone.
I looked up as he was about to slide over the rail and out of the tent. He turned
and smiled at me. His eyes twinkled. This time I know he winked. He slid out of the tent.
"Jesus," I thought.
He was back at the tent about the same morning. I was making my bed
and nobody else was there.
"That's not a good hospital corner, Becky," he said.
"Smart ass," I said.
"You have to crease the sheet before you tuck it in," he said as he came
and executed a perfect corner on the bed.
"Is that so?" I asked. "And where did you learn that?"
"The military is good for something," he said.
"Smart ass," I said again. "Paul, why are you here? Aren't you supposed
to be working?"
"I wanted to make sure you were okay. I left Justin in charge of the boys.
I told him I had to get something from the storage shed and I'd be back in twenty minutes."
"Twenty minutes?" I asked. "It takes that long to walk one way."
"I'll run," he said. "Nobody found out I was here last night did they?"
"No," I said. "Mary asked me if I heard a noise this morning and I told
her I thought I heard a deer in the woods." We both laughed. "How about you?"
"Sam asked me where I was last night and I told him I slept in the woods."
"Slept in the woods, Paul? Jesus. We shouldn't have done that. We could
have really gotten into trouble, I said."
"I know," Paul said, "We better not do that again."
I just looked at him. No, I didnt have any intention of doing that again.
"Becky, I'm off again next Tuesday. Would you go back to Christy's
with me?" he asked.
I thought about this. It had been fun. He hadn't tried a thing and the
grounds had been made clear so to speak. We could be friends.
"I'll go with you," I nodded.
"You'll need cigarettes by then, right?" he asked.
"Smart ass," I said for the third time. He turned to go. "Paul, thanks
for coming and checking."
He nodded, "I'll see you on Tuesday," and he was gone - but heading
in the wrong direction.
"Paul, don't you have to get back?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, "But first I have to go to the storage shed and try to find
something I could have needed to take back with me."
"Becky," Paul asked me my junior year in college, "do you go home often?"
"No," I said. "I don't go home often. There's something about that house.
I don't like that house."
We had just finished lunch the same day when we heard the screen door
slam and Paul walked into the room. He stared at me. He didn't acknowledge
"Becky, could I see you outside for a minute?" he asked.
"What does he want now?" I thought. "Okay," I said and I followed him outside.
"Becky, I didn't want to wait until Tuesday. I wanted to see you again.
Do you want to go for a walk?"
I was incredulous once again, "A walk? A walk where?"
"We could walk down by the lake," he said.
I blurted out, "What for?" After being at this camp a walk was the last thing
I wanted to do.
"I just want to talk to you. Please."
"Okay," I gave up; "I'll go. Just for a minute, though. I'm just going to go back
inside and tell them where I'm going."
His face dropped. "If you do that, you won't go," he said.
"Paul, I said I'd go and I'll go." I had no idea what he was talking about.
"I'll be back in a minute."
I told the table I was going for a walk with Paul. Mouths dropped.
Faces looked stunned.
"With Paul?" the whole table asked at once. They were so concerned
I thought something was seriously wrong. Maybe he was a murderer. Maybe he had
been to prison.
"Is there something wrong with Paul?" I asked.
"He went to military school," the whole table responded.
I was relieved to say the least. At least I wouldn't be murdered on this walk.
"I know," I said.
"You know?" they asked in disbelief.
"Yes, I know. I had a beer with him at Christy's. He's not bad.
Actually, he seems pretty nice." I said.
"You had a beer with him?" the whole table asked in unison again.
"Yes," I said, "and he was nice." I turned around and left and could tell this
would be their topic of conversation until I returned.
He seemed surprised that I came back out. Except knowing him, I'm sure
he listened to the whole conversation.
"I just want to get a cigarette to take with me," I said. "I'll be back in a second."
He nodded. I ran to the tent and ran back. I didn't know why I ran.
"So what did you want to talk about, Paul?" I asked as we started off.
"I had a good time last night," he started.
I figured where this was going, "Paul, the only reason I let you sleep in my bed
last night was because I didn't think you would make it back. It won't happen again."
He said, "I know that Becky. But still it was fun."
Where did this guy come from?
He told me that no one would talk to him because he came from a military school.
I said I was sorry. I tried to explain about Quakers and their beliefs.
He nodded. "You're the only one who will talk to me, Becky." I didn't respond.
We were down by the lake out of everyone's view.
"Becky, can I kiss you?"
"You don't give up do you?" I asked.
He shook his head no. "Not when I see something I want."
"And you want me?" I asked.
"We'll see about that," I said almost to myself.
"Becky, can I please kiss you?"
"Paul," I asked, "why would I want to kiss you? We only went out once
and I thought that was as friends."
He was far better at this than I expected. "Jeees, Becky, I just asked
if I could kiss you, not marry you."
"You're impossible," I said.
He smiled. "I know. That's why you like me."
Boy was he infuriating. "Fine," I said, "You can kiss me."
I didn't expect this to be pleasant. I screwed up my face.
"Well, Becky, if this is going to be torture for you, I won't do it," he said.
I realized what I must look like and I burst out with a laugh. He laughed too.
"Fine, "I said.
The kiss was soft and gentle. On the second kiss he touched my hair so
lightly I can still feel it to this day.
"That wasn't so bad, was it?" he asked.
"No," I said, "That wasn't bad at all."
To be continued.