Adventures and Such at Camp Batterfly: Part Three
Dinner wasn't as bad, although she still sat alone amongst strangers. She had the job of scraper, which was easy enough since she had watched it being done at lunch. After dinner, they had free time until bed. Oak Ledge sat down at the picnic tables under the pavilion until it was time to go to bed. Thornberry brought five decks of cards from her cabin. They were quickly snatched up by other pets. But it wasn't like Zita had anyone to play with anyway. She was forced to stay there though. She couldn't go back to her cabin without a buddy. (They had to use the buddy system!) She contemplated writing a letter to Lenka asking her to send her home, but she wasn't sure how to word it. Just yesterday she was so excited! At the next table, Marissa and Zita were playing rummy with two of the worst poker faces Zita had ever seen. Lightmite and Thornberry were playing a game Zita didn't know with six campers. A few pets had gone off in groups to look for the totem. No one noticed Zita. Zita wasn't sure if she wanted to be noticed or not.
Soon enough, it was time for bed. Zita and the rest of Oak Ledge changed into their pyjamas and brushed their teeth.
"How was your first day?" Marissa asked as they lay down in bed.
"Good," Zita lied.
Marissa and Deanna both fell asleep within minutes, or at least they didn't make any more noise.
This bed was really uncomfortable, Zita thought, and it was really hot, and there were petpetpets everywhere. She wondered what her family and friends were doing in Terror Mountain right now. Whatever they were doing they were definitely having more fun than Zita. Zita wanted to go home. Camp seemed a lot more fun in the brochure. Why did everyone else have friends except for her?
The Moehog lay awake for a while, until she was finally captured by sleep.
The next morning, after breakfast, she received her first letter from home. It wasn't very long.
We hope you're having fun! Terror Mountain played Brightvale yesterday. We lost in Yooyuball and Make Some Noise, but we beat them in Slushie Slinger and Shootout Showdown! Today we play Tyrannia.
Lenka and Pavol
Zita was suddenly very angry. She crumpled up the letter. A few pets looked over at her with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. Now she felt embarrassed. She smoothed out the letter and put it in her backpack.
After Oak Ledge swept out the mess hall (it was their turn), Lightmite gathered them together and announced that it was time for canoeing. The rest of Oak Ledge, excepting Zita, cheered. They were lead down the same path that led them to swimming. Oak Ledge chattered excitedly.
"Canoeing! Canoeing! I love canoeing!" Marissa chanted.
"I've never been canoeing before. Is it hard?" asked a Ruki whose name Zita could not remember.
"It's not that hard," said two pets at once.
"And it's super fun!" said Marissa.
When they got to the bottom of the hill, they walked past the beach where they went swimming and towards a cabin with canoes in the front. They were met by a Jetsam with a bug smile who looked nearly as excited as Marissa.
"My name is Butterfish," said the Jetsam, "Are you guys ready to go canoeing?!"
Oak Ledge shouted, "Yes!"
Butterfish explained the rules of canoeing. Always wear life jackets. Never stand up in the canoe. Stroke on both sides of the canoe or you'll just go in circles.
"I've done that," said Marissa.
They were all given life jackets according to their size. Zita's was orange and grey and significantly less pretty then everyone else's blue and yellow ones.
"Alright," said Butterfish, "Now I need everyone to fund a partner." She counted everyone. "There will be one group of three."
Zia's heart fell down into her stomach. She didn't have anyone to partner with. She looked around. Marissa and Deanna both found partners. Marissa high fived her partner, a tall Blumaroo whose name was Ona. Deanna had partnered up with the Grarrl named Lee. Zita hid her face in her hooves.
"No partner?" asked Butterfish, placing a fin on Zita's back, "We'll find a group for you." She walked Zita over to a Nimmo and Hissi. "Would you two mind adding a number three to your group?"
The Nimmo and Hissi said, "Sure," without any enthusiasm
"You can share the oars," said Butterfish.
The Nimmo and Hissi never introduced themselves, they took both oars and sat in the front of the canoe. Zita was left to take the back.
"I'll push us out," said the Hissi. The Nimmo nodded her head. Zita did too.
Very soon, they were out on the water. The Hissi had one oar and the Nimmo had the other. They were moving along pretty steadily. A few times, they went a little too much to one said, but it was quickly.
The Hissi and Nimmo talked to each other, not even acknowledging Zita. Zita was never even given the chance to row. Zita looked over and saw Marissa and Ona going around in circles. They were both laughing. Deanna and Lee were chatting away happily. Lightmite and Thornberry had their own canoe and were racing a few other canoes to the center of the lake. Zita felt sad. She felt lonely. She wanted to go home. She started to cry. Once she started to cry a little she couldn't stop. She hated camp. She wanted to go home.
The Hissi and Nimmo noticed her crying.
"Why are you crying?" said the Nimmo without much sympathy.
Zita cried harder.
In about twenty minutes, once they got back to dry land, Zita's crying had almost stopped, but her eyes were still red, and she was still sniffling. The rest of Oak Ledge noticed.
"What's wrong, Zita?" asked Marissa.
"Yeah, what's wrong?" asked Ona.
"Everybody back away, please," said Thornberry, pushing through the crowd. "Go put away your life jackets." Lightmite came up behind her. Once everyone was gone she asked, "What's wrong, Zita?"
Zita told her counselors everything. This made her start crying again.
"I want to go home!" she cried.
"I'm very sorry you're not enjoying camp," said Thornberry, "but unfortunately we cannot send you home."
Zita cried harder.
"But we can certainly make your time here better," Thornberry continued. "Have you ever told you cabin mates how you feel?"
Zita shook her head.
"Deanna and Marissa are both very nice pets," said Lightmite. "I'm sure they don't mean to ignore you. Just tell them how you feel. Ask them to sit with you at lunch or something."
"Can we go back up now?" one of the Oak Ledge pets shouted.
"Sure, I'll take you," said Lightmite, leaving Zita to join them.
"Want me to tell you a secret?" said Thornberry. "Well, it's not really a secret, but want me to tell you anyway?"
Zita said, "Okay."
"When I first went to camp, ten years ago, I didn't have any friends at all," said Thornberry, "Everyone seemed to already know each other, and I was the odd one out. There was this one pet in my cabin that seemed to be friends with everybody, and I was so afraid to talk to her
"But eventually I got brave enough to talk to people. I said 'hello' and asked them to play cards By the end of the summer, I had tons of friends. And that pet that I was afraid to talk to became my best friend of all"
"Really?" said Zita.
"Really," said Thornberry, with a smile, "Just ask Lightmite."
"Lightmite? You were afraid to talk to Lightmite?"
Thornberry laughed, "Sure was."
Zita laughed too.
"And I promise you," said Thornberry, "all the pets in Oak Ledge are very nice. None of them are being mean to you on purpose. They don't even know they're being mean. And how are they supposed to know, unless you tell them?"
"Are you okay to go back up the hill?" asked Thornberry.
Zita nodded again, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"If we speed walk, we can still catch up with the others."
The walk up was as tiring as ever. Even more so for Zita, because everyone was staring at her the whole way up. When they were up the hill and back in their cabins, Zita walked up to Marissa.
"Hi, Marissa," said Zita.
"Hi Zita, are you feeling okay?" said Marissa.
"It's almost lunch time," said Zita.
"I know. Lunch can't get here fast enough. I am SO hungry," said Marissa.
"I was wondering," said Zita, slowly and carefully, "If you wanted to sit with me at lunch?"
"Sure!" said Marissa, "You can sit with me, and Deanna, and Ona, and Lee."
"Awesome!" said Zita, "Thanks!"
"What are you thanking me for?" said Marissa, running off to catch up with Ona and another pet.
To be continued...