I was sitting on my soft bed, and was finishing up with my online classes. I preferred to work on my bed. It was a lot more comfy than a chair anyway. I was in 5th grade and I’d be going to middle school in several months. It was a warm late May day and I had just finished my class when my mom opened my creaky door and slowly shuffled into my room.
“Idan, are you done with your classes?” my mother asked.
“Yep,” I replied.
“I just wanted to let you know that I got an email from the camp and-”
But I already knew what she was going to say. Coronavirus ended a lot of things. Certain means of transportation, restaurants, and stores had all been victims of this deadly virus. After a while though, I became used to it. Every so often I would hear that something else closed due to the virus.
I’d hear snatches of New York 1 saying things like, “Restaurants have been notified that they have to close due to the ongoing pandemic.”
But similar to how I reacted to the other things closing, I shrugged it off and tried my best to keep unperturbed. But there was still one thing, one thing that had not closed that I kept wishing would not. This was my sleepaway camp, Peconic Dunes.
Let me tell you a bit about Peconic Dunes. It was a sleepaway camp that I had been going to for the past 3 years. It was one of my favorite places to be in the world. There is a huge green field, a private section of beach (on the Long Island Sound), a big pond, and a forest with wooden cabins where we slept and hung out. There were many activities you could do as well such as kayaking, some cool sports like ultimate frisbee, walking in the forest, and fishing. There is also something called corkeling. Corkeling is pretty much kayaking but in a circular tube which is very easy to fall out of. Oh and did I mention eating? Eating is always an enjoyable activity.
Anyway, for the past year I had been really looking forward to going back there. The previous month we had gotten an email from the director of the camp. He told us that they would put it on hold until the following month to decide whether they would stay open or not. I am a very optimistic person so of course I was hoping that they would stay open. The only problem was that I didn’t really prepare myself for that obstacle. I should’ve told myself that there was a good chance that it would happen. I should’ve told myself to look forward to the next time I’ll go. I should’ve told myself that it’ll be for a reason if they do close. However, I was optimistic the whole way through and I didn’t end up doing any of these things. I kept telling myself and my parents that it would stay open because things would get better. I also tried to think about how overjoyed I’ll feel when I get there.
“- the camp had to cancel.” she said. There was an empathetic look in her eyes. It took me a few seconds to process what she just told me. Deep down, I knew it would happen, but it was a blow nevertheless. I didn’t utter a word and I kept hearing her words over and over again in my head. I slumped onto my pillow, and began to cry with wet tears trickling down my face.
My mother sat down on my bed next to me and tried to make me feel better. She consoled me. She told me that I would go the next time I had the chance. But all I could think about was Peconic Dunes. I thought about all the people I wouldn’t be able to see. I thought about all the activities I wouldn’t be able to do. Peconic Dunes was the onlything in my head. After a couple minutes I got up and every step I took felt heavy and I began to trudge along the floor. Then at that moment, I began to vocalize my thoughts.
“Why did they have to close!” I exclaimed. “How can they predict how the virus will be in a month! What if things get better by then!” I tried to think about every reason why they should’ve stayed open. But my list of reasons was not very lengthy.
“Idan, you know that they had to close for a reason. They would never close just like that if they didn’t have a reason behind it. They did it for the right choices.” Even though I knew she was right, I was still very crestfallen.
Over the next few days, it still felt like a heavy weight on my chest. One night I just couldn’t contain my feelings and I began to cry again. I wasn’t very pleased at the time as one could probably tell. It was one of the worst feelings I had ever felt in a while. I couldn’t be cheerful because my thoughts would always drift back towards Peconic Dunes. Those were some very miserable days. And everyday I kept trying to make things better. But it was tough, really tough.
When I finally began to calm down again, I tried to think about good things. For example the fact that just because I couldn’t go this time doesn’t mean I won’t ever venture there again. I told myself that next year would be better and that if it’s safe, I would go back to camp just like any other year. It was still a big loss but I was able to make the loss better.
After a day or two I came to a realization that I was too sad to think about before. The realization of the truth. They had to close for a reason. They closed for my safety and everyone else's safety. Going to camp won’t make the virus less dangerous to others. It was foolish and stupid to think that it would be fine if so many people grouped together for weeks. This was the right reason.
But I also learned how reality is. Not everything will go your way. Not everything will go everyone else's way. Bad things will happen and that’s just the way it is. You have to deal with these things and simply move on. Because that’s just how life works. And that’s how it always will.