The sun beamed down this Saturday morning like hell on earth. In fact, the temperature in New Hampshire broke a record, with the heat rising higher than Death Valley’s documented temp. of 136 degrees. At 137, our camp counselors informed the campers they would spend the morning at Sentinel Lake. At breakfast, we were reminded to put on sunscreen and bring our water bottles. At that very moment I just wanted to go home. I longed for my mother who I hadn’t seen in two weeks and my air-conditioned room. As all my cabin mates were putting on their striped and polka dot bikinis, I sluggishly put my hair into a bun and grabbed my flamingo pink flip flops. I could have easily gone bare-foot as my feet slid out of the rubber-thong slippers in a heap of drenching sweat. If only this room were air-conditioned, I would have stayed indoors. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to head down to the lake and cool off. As I approached, swarms of pre-teens had already taken space on the little patch of dirty brown sand. Yellow, orange and brown canoes adorned the landscape along with a huge blue bongo and teens in every hue imaginable were diving into the pristine aqua water. Luckily, I found a small space to place my belongings. As I folded my towel and placed it down, a tap came across my back.“Please don’t sit next to me,” said Payton. Luck was not on my side, as I ended up next to Payton Patterson my neighbor who I couldn’t stand. We have hated each other every since she moved on the street four years back in July of 2012. She is the kind of person, that thinks she knows everything. She walks with her head held high as if she owns the world. When I realized we were at the same camp, I did my best to avoid her and pulled myself from every activity I found out she too was signed up for. If it weren’t for my sister Persia, who has kept the peace, we would have gotten into a cat-fight just so I could prove I could knock her silly. Today was the wrong day unfortunately to keep my distance. I was not going to look for another spot not even if she paid me. Not in this weather. She would have to pretend I was my twin. I never understood what Persia saw in her. I gave Payton a roll of the eye and said, “you’d have to carry me out of here dead that is, because I’m not movin and you’re not going to make me.” Payton pointed and laughed at my spot, as she layed down while Alex applied more PF50 to her back.
I took off my shorts and headed for the water. Splash! The water was as warm as my tub on a wintery day. Whistles were blowing throughout the morning as camp counselors, called out “no horseplaying in the water.” That message certainly applied to me several times as I played Marco Polo and jumped from the Bongo when I didn’t receive permission to do so.
Samantha from New York, Andie from Florida, Meghan from New Hampshire, Tessany also from Florida made the afternoon come quickly with their playful and fun energy. Andie reminded me twice, “Nadia get out and drink water.” There is water all around me; I can just gulp it if that would make you happy”, I responded. I jumped into a canoe, rowing out to the deep end. I don’t know what made me go out so far and alone. I sat tired from all the rowing, when I looked up there was Payton with Alex. “I moved your stupid bag and ugly stuff,” Payton yelled out. “I don’t know why you chose to sit next to me, I warned you but you’re so goddamn stubborn,” she said. I called her every possible swear imaginable but the words wouldn’t come out my mouth. “What’s wrong with you?, suddenly you are mute” she said. Sweat started drenching from my body, I felt strange and all I could remember, is falling over into the water.
Beep, beep, beep were the sounds I woke up to. As I opened my eyes, flowers, balloons, and get well cards lined the room. An applause erupted as my mother, sister, brother and aunts. “She is wake get the doctor,” yelled my mother. I was flooded with kisses on my forehead but the tubes made it impossible for me to speak. I could only express my feelings through tears which began to fall. As the doctor entered the room, he began to check my heart, eyes and conduct various other test. Although I felt I was falling in and out of consciousness, I heard him say, “she is in the clear, your daughter pulled through. A few days later, I began to regain my strength. That evening, while I was alone with mom in the hospital she told me what happened. I had a heat stroke and fell out of the canoe. Had it not been for Payton I would have died. Payton came to visit and she shared Payton was afraid I wasn’t going to make it and felt incredibly guilty. Come to find out Payton had never touched my stuff. Mom didn’t quite understand what she was talking about but ensured her she saved my life. When I had come home from the hospital, Payton had stopped by to visit. When she entered my room, she stated,”You’re into Fifth Harmony?” “Lauren Jauregui is my favorite” artist, she said. That was the first of many common interest Payton and I had in common. Never would I have imagined a year later, I would be calling her my best friend. I couldn’t imagine life without Payton, she still walks with her head high not because she owns the world but as I remind her, I owe her mine.