It was the end of a rather slow-going day. During rental weeks at camp, the counselors are given a break from campers and spend the week helping out the rest of the staff with cooking, cleaning and miscellaneous duties which range from placing sliced cheese on pretzel rolls to flaking away moss bits on the tool shed roof. We were assigned tasks in the morning which were usually completed by mid-afternoon. Then we spent the time between mid-afternoon and cleaning up after dinner playing Dominion.
All the trays, silverware, and cups have been sprayed, gone through the dishwasher, whose water was so hot that it frequently scalded my skin, and stacked away. Someone was already sweeping the kitchen floor. The wooden chairs were stacked on the tables, the dining area floor was swept, and Thor was getting the water and the mop. I saw nothing else that needed to be done so I retired to fireplace that was probably once in use a long time ago, or possibly only in the winter. I never wondered until now.
I tucked my feet under my thighs and rested my elbows on them. I watched Thor move the mop back and forth, covering the hardwood floor with a shiny glaze which would evaporate in an instance as the blades of the ceiling fans cut through the thick summer air. The fireplace became a popular sitting spot due to the lack of upright chairs in that duration.
He came over and sat by me, probably due to the lack of task to complete too. He was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt. I had wondered how many of those he owned. It was the first time I found out that he had desired to be an English major too, but ended up going into journalism instead. It was also the first time that I found out that he reads and writes; I perked up at the discovery of that. Boone joined us briefly with a slice pie which type I cannot recall in his hands, joyfully shoving morsels of it into his mouth because the pies were dairy-free that meal. That did not happen very often. I think it was his third slice of the day. These are the only details of the conversation that I can now recall, albeit its significance.
On the other hand, I do remember that we were having a good conversation that felt like it could go on for a while more. At one point, we were told that if we didn’t leave the fireplace then, we would have to wait for the floor to dry completely before being able to leave the dining area because they were going to mop around the fireplace. I did not care, neither did he; and so they mopped. We had nothing else lined up for the rest of the night. There was no where else to rush off to. I was glad.
At one point of comfortable silence in the conversation, he got up and left. I did not ask where he was going for the fear of appearing to be nosy. We just had our first substantial conversation. I thought that was it. I had gotten to know another summer staff better and I was satisfied. Yet I hung out at the fireplace for an extra couple of minutes, stewing in the lingering effects of a good conversation with a fellow writer and feeling at peace. I think I was hoping for more of that. He either went to the bathroom or went to get pie; I still do not know.
He came back and has not left since then.