My 13-year-old self had been having a grand time at summer camp despite having the thought that since I’d been going to this camp for years now, eh, maybe it wasn’t going to be as much fun as it had been in the beginning. I had gone back to my original camp activities of archery, riflery, and swimming even though I’d already gained every award/achievement they had to offer for these things – and I did it because over the years, I’d taken many of the other activities and they were okay, like horseback riding and understanding what it was like to be atop of an animal with a mind of its own; yeah, TV cowboys made it look so easy to just hop on a horse, didn’t they?
Going back to the beginning, however, allowed me to meet “Christine,” a green-eye, red-headed, freckled angel of a girl who captivated me on the very first day we hit the archery range. She’d been having a lot of trouble stringing her bow even thought the instructors had demonstrated it quite a few times. Being an old hand at it, I went to help her and the moment our eyes met I, um, I forgot why I was standing next to her. Then she smiled… and I was pretty sure I’d forgotten where I was and maybe even who I was.
To be honest, it wasn’t as if I was inexperienced with girls… and in any way you want to define it. I liked girls but this one? Like any other teenaged boy, my hormones were already redlined but that initial moment of meeting Christine was such an instantaneous rush of emotions that I felt dizzy and had to take a seat after helping her get her bow strung and the dizziness threatened to overwhelm me when our hands incidentally touched, making me gasp and I dimly remember her blinking rapidly, her jaw dropping for a moment. I’d sat down for a moment, breathing heavily and, I guess, so distressed that an instructor came to check on me and having them ask me if I was okay broke the “spell” that came over me. I told them that I was fine and the day’s lesson began… but I wasn’t at my best, not in the form that had gotten me the American Archer award just a couple of years ago.
Maybe it was fate… or purely a coincidence but in every activity I had, Christine was there, too. At the rifle range, jeez, I had the jitters so bad – and because she was in the firing position next to me – that I had a hard time locking in on the target; what the hell was wrong with me and an even better question, why was I feeling this way every time I saw her? Even at lunch, my eyes were drawn to her from across the dining room, picking her out easily from all the other girls in that section; our eyes met – again – and I must’ve blanked out for a moment because I hadn’t realized that instead of taking a bite out of the sandwich in my hand, I ate my napkin instead. I got snapped out of whatever the hell this was by the guys at my table having a good old time laughing their asses off at me for doing just a dumb thing.
As smart as I was (and according to all the tests I’d been taking), I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me; before lunch, we had swimming class which was a “waste” of my time since I had long since achieved the highest level of swimmer and, as such, didn’t need instruction. But there she was again and even with her buddy, I had no problem locating her out of all the kids in the safe swimming area… and not more than ten feet away. My heartbeat pounded in my ears and so loudly that I could barely hear my own buddy asking me something. That got me out of my moment and as I went to answer him, Christine had gotten swamped by a wave and separated from her buddy; the next thing I knew, I had her in my arms and her head above water… and I shuddered, then was embarrassed because I’d just ejaculated in my swimming trunks.
Worse, I think she knew it since my front was pressed against her back as I moved her toward the beach. She didn’t say anything (thank God) but she smiled and thanked me even as the lifeguards came running over to see if we were both okay but her smile was even… brighter than it had been earlier that day on the archery range. Yeah, I thought she knew what had happened with me.
It was going to be a long two weeks. My days were filled with Christine and in the moments where we were separated, my thoughts were occupied by her and my nights, oh, damn, my nights were filled with having to masturbate several times because she just haunted me into having erection after erection and even when I slept, it was fitfully and there were too many mornings where I’d wake up with my underwear plastered to me. What the hell is this? What is wrong with me?
Somehow, a memory showed up to explain it all; I remembered the day I had asked my mother how would I know if I was in love and she gave the answer of, “When it happens, you’ll know it!” I thought, at the time, that it was the most useless answer I’d ever heard from her and had dismissed it… until now. Was this love? Is all this shit I’d been feeling and going through what it means to be in love? I didn’t know and there was no one I would even dare to ask being at camp.
Then came the night of the camp dance, which was always held a couple of days before the end of every camp session and attendance was mandatory. The room was filled with laughing, talking, and dancing kids of all ages and I had felt… weird dancing with other girls and either locking eyes with Christine – and being pissed off to see her dancing with some guy – or just knowing she was looking at me as I danced with someone. At one point, the music changed from being up – tempo to slow and the counselors chaperoning the event reminded us to keep some distance between ourselves and our dance partners. I was kinda standing there when the song, “In the Year 2525” began to play and I heard a voice I knew all too well asking, “Do you want to dance with me?”
I turned and looked and saw Christine standing there but, of course, I’d already known it was her and there was no way in hell that I was going to tell her that I didn’t want to dance with her. And we danced and, perhaps, a bit closer than what was allowed but no chaperone came over to separate us. The song seemed to go on for forever as we swayed on the dance floor and gazing into each other’s eyes and at the part of the song where the singer was talking about the year 2510, Christine said, “I think I’m in love with you… and I think you’re in love with me, too…”
Then she kissed me and the next thing I knew, we were outside on the building’s deck. Wait… weren’t we just inside and dancing? How did I get out here? I blinked and realized that I was holding Christine’s hand and she was smiling and even crying; did I do or say something wrong? I was able to remember that just as the song got to the part about the year 2525, I had told her, “I love you…” and that’s when I blanked out, I guess. Standing there in the warmth of the night, holding her hand, wow – nothing else mattered or even existed. We kissed – totally against the camp rules – and our tongues got together and I could feel our bodies trembling and I was sure we were holding each other up… and I was praying that I didn’t shoot in my pants.
We were both crying now after talking about camp being over for us and that we’d never see each other again and I was so in love with her and so totally heartbroken at the same time and looking into her eyes told me that she felt the same way. We got snapped out of our moment by the counselors saying that the dance was over and the hustle of the various counselors collecting their charges to once more put a lot of distance between the boys and girls. We kissed one more – and last time – and it was beyond amazing; we ended it just in time for some counselors to wrangle us up but not before we had a chance to tell each other where we lived… and the exultation of finding out that we lived in the same damned city! That last kiss wasn’t a kiss goodbye and forever!
We’d become boyfriend and girlfriend despite some… resistance from her parents and over that racial bullshit that existed. It didn’t stop us from sneaking off one day when I was allowed to visit with her and, um, well, we made love on a blanket in the neighboring woods and listening to our song on the radio she had brought with her. If we hadn’t known that we loved each other before, we knew it as our bodies joined and we became one with each other. And, oh, how we both cried in that moment and I understood what “tears of joy” meant as I came in her over and over and over until I couldn’t anymore… and even then nothing mattered other than my love for her and the love she felt for me. I knew what it meant when she’d said that she wanted to give herself to me even if it got us in trouble; I remember my mind giving me a “busy signal” to hear her say that she had to do this because she had been told – and like we all had been – that she should only give herself to someone she loved… so she did. We explored each other’s bodies; I remember how she gasped and shuddered as I kissed her “down there” over and over and how she made me gasp and shudder as she returned that special kiss to me and the rest was… beyond beautiful.
Then she moved away; I remember feeling that same heartbreak I’d felt at camp when she told me about it and how her dad had gotten transferred and made worse because we were only allowed a few short minutes to say goodbye to each other and allowed one last kiss before it was time for me to head back home. I don’t even remember walking back home; to me, one moment I was taking one last look at my beloved Christine and the next moment, I was walking through the door of my home. And to make things even worse, I kept hearing our song on the radio, which made me happy and sad all at the same time.
Today, I don’t know if the song can be found… and even after all this time, I don’t know if I could listen to it even if I could find it… but there are times when I think about it and it makes me think about Christine and the first girl that I ever fell in love with… and it makes me smile at the memories of our short but beautiful time together and, yes, especially the moment we stole to “consummate” our love and defining what it meant to make love.
One of the musical moments I will never, ever forget…