Home > Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe(5)

Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe(5)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski

“We’re running to the showers before dinner,” Talia says with a teasing grin. “Since you think I need one.”

“I don’t! I—!”

“She does need a shower,” Lis says. “So do I.”

“Enjoy your city look, Sam,” Talia says. “It’ll be gone in an hour!”

My “city look.” Funny. I blew my hair straight this morning. I probably won’t be able to get it this way again for the rest of the summer.

“When’s dinner?” I ask.

“In an hour,” Lis says.

Eli’s flight leaves at seven, which means he’ll be boarding soon. I need to say goodbye. I look at my phone. Still no service. “Wait, guys, is there Wi-Fi? I’m not getting cell service here.”

“Only in the office,” Talia says. “Not in the bunks.”

“Crap,” I say, tensing. “I want to reach my boyfriend before he takes off.”

“You can get a signal by the showers,” Lis says. “A faint one, but better than nothing. I’ll show you in a sec.”

“Still no showers in the bunks, huh?” I ask.

Talia shakes her head. “The senior girls have one. I can’t believe we got stuck with juniors again.”

I sit back on the bed and wait for Lis and Talia to put on their bathrobes and flip-flops.

“So where’s Janelle?” I ask.

“She said she wanted to take a swim,” Lis says, and snort-laughs, looking at Talia.

I raise my eyebrow. “What’s her story?”

Talia picks up her shower bucket. “Let’s just say I lucked out.”

“Talia!” Lis says.

“I did,” Talia says. “Sam seems totally normal and Janelle is . . . well . . . a little freaky?”

Me. I’m normal.

They have anointed me as normal.


Still, I remember what it was like to be called freaky.

“What is normal, exactly?” I ask, trying to keep my voice calm. “Is there such a thing?”

“There definitely is,” Lis says, lowering her voice. “And she is not it. Look what’s in her cubby! Tube tops!”

“What’s wrong with tube tops?” I ask. “I don’t have any, but why do we not approve?”

“She doesn’t shave her armpits,” Lis says, and wrinkles her nose.

Plenty of my friends at college aren’t so into shaving. “Maybe she’s making a statement?” I say.

“A gross one,” Lis says, and cackles.

“Lis,” Talia says. “For all you know, Sam doesn’t shave her armpits either.”

Lis turns to me. “Do you?”

I admit, “I got them waxed in New York.”

“Smart,” Talia says. She sits down beside me. “In all honesty, we were worried. But I can tell I like you.” She smirks. “Even if you made me do all the unpacking so you could hook up with your boyfriend.”

I smile. “It was really good hooking up. Like, amazing.”

Talia laughs.

The truth is, the best part of the last week wasn’t even the hooking up. It was staying up late, my head on his chest, while he drew shapes on my back and we whispered and watched the sun rise. Then he’d sneak back to his room before his parents woke up.

Talia swings her shower bucket. “C’mon. His flight is going to leave any minute. You gotta move.”

“Thanks,” I say, and follow them out the front door and around the cabin toward the showers, which are between bunks 3 and 4, girls on the right, boys on the left.

“If you stand just beside that tree, you’ll get service,” Lis says. “Don’t ask me why.”

“I’m going in,” Talia says, leaving me. “There better not be a line.”

“Thanks,” I say. And then I’m on my own and staring at the showers.

There are about twenty stairs to get up to them.

The incident that inspired my nickname occurred on stair seven, three from the top.

I tripped on my flip-flop.

I tripped, and then I tumbled down, down, down, and my bathrobe opened and my nether regions were exposed to everyone standing on Lower Field—girls and boys.

Including Zoe Buckman. Who just stood there, laughing.

“Porn star!” she shrieked. “Sam is a porn star!”

It didn’t help that I was the only girl in my bunk who already had boobs and hair on those nether regions.

I stood up and covered myself as quickly as I could. My right elbow and left knee were skinned. And I had bumped my head.

By the time I got back to the bunk, Porn Star had morphed into Porny. I guess Porn Star was too much of a mouthful?

They called me that for the rest of the summer.


I shiver.

I will not trip again.


No one will call me Porny again.

No one. Will call me. Porny. Again.

This summer will be great.

I am not the same person I used to be: I am no longer quiet. I am no longer shy. I am no longer eleven. I have a 3.9 GPA!

I live in freakin’ New York City!

And I am normal, dammit!

Totally, utterly normal!

And I have a super hot boyfriend!

I press Eli’s name on my phone. It’s ringing! Ringing . . . ringing . . . Connecting! Woot!

“Sam?” he says.

“Hi!” I say, filled with relief at the sound of his voice. I turn away from the stairs. “Yay. I’m glad I caught you.”

“I’m at the airport!”

“I know! I’m at camp!”

“I tried calling,” he says. “Did you see my texts?”

“No,” I say. “Service here sucks. Apparently, I can only speak to you from deep in the woods.”

“I guess you’ll be spending a lot of time in the woods.”

“I love the woods. That’s where the ticks are.”

Eli knows I am terrified of ticks. My mother had Lyme disease a few years back. She was in bed for months. Now she refuses to go into the backyard.

“Good thing you bought a hundred bottles of bug spray,” he says.

“It is a good thing,” I say. “And you packed your money belt?”

“Oh, yeah, wearing it right now.”

He’s teasing me. But his mom bought him one to keep his money and passport safe. You’re supposed to wear it under your clothes so you don’t get pickpocketed. I don’t think it’s the worst idea. “Did you even pack it?” I ask.

“I did. But we both know I’m never going to wear it.”

A mosquito lands on my arm and I swat it. “Apparently you have to put the bug spray on for it to work.”

“Who knew?”

A counselor comes out of the showers and rushes down the steps. I want to tell her to slow down so she doesn’t slip.

“So what are you doing?” I ask.

“Waiting for them to call my group. First class is already on. I’m going to miss you,” he adds. “Why did I think leaving you for the summer was a good idea?”

My throat tightens. “I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it was a terrible idea.”

“It was,” he says. “It really was. I wish you were coming with me. Oh. Wait. Hold on. They’re calling my group. Finally. Okay, I’m up. I better go. I’ll call you when I get to Rome. Actually, it will be the middle of the night there, won’t it?”

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