I think I succeeded in this piece by having near perfect grammar and by organizing it well. I also think I incorporated humor as well as the rule of three. I could improve this story by having one clear lesson learned and by explicitly stating it. I could also have allowed the reader to become more familiar with the story’s characters.
(the document wouldn’t attach, so-)
Into The Wilderness
“Do you want to go camping?”
Receiving this text filled me with an equal mix of excitement and anxiety. On one hand, the idea of going away without my family was enthralling. On the other hand, every time I’d gone camping in the past there had been amenities, and I knew the kind of camping my friend was implying would most definitely not. I texted back: : “Yes! I’ll ask my parents tomorrow.”
Going camping with my then best friend was something I knew I’d enjoy in theory, but in reality? I wasn’t sure. What if there was a bear attack? What if I fell into the outhouse? What if her family only ate weird foods I wouldn’t be able to stomach and I starved to death? I felt myself spiralling into more and more ridiculous concerns. Seriously Breanna? Get it together. This will be fun! I tried to mentally psych myself up to collect the courage to ask my parents.
“Mom! Dad!” I called.
It was the next evening, and I was about to ask them if I could go. I figured they would say yes- I’d gone camping with friends before, but only for one night. This time around it was going to be for 3 days. They entered the living room with disgruntled, questioning faces.
“What’s up?” they asked.
I got straight to the point: “Can I go camping with Mik?”
They exchanged glances. After a few routine questions, they gave me the answer I both wanted and feared- yes! Now that they had granted me permission, I had no excuse to fall back on. Well, I thought, I guess this is it! I’m going into the wilderness with no guarantee of ever coming back. I picked up my iPod and texted Mik: “I can come!”, followed by a slough of smiling emojis.
“Great!” she replied, “this is going to be so fun.” I sure hope so…
The fateful weekend was approaching and I was slowly becoming more comfortable with the nitty gritty of the trip. We would drive up to Lillooet lake with her dad and meet her mom at the campsite. The three days would be taken up by 4x4ing, building campfires, and swimming in the lake. I figured that sounded pretty relaxing and fun, so my anxiety gradually ebbed away like the waves of Lillooet lake. But then, I was thrown for a loop.
“Hey Bree! My family friends are going to be coming on our trip too, just thought I’d let you know. You’ve met them before so it’s no big deal.”
Those three sentences made my stomach drop. I felt immediate disappointment. My special weekend with my best friend was going to be intruded upon? What the heck! The other family consisted of a mom and her two sons, one our age and one little. But it wasn’t the little boy or the mom that bothered me- it was the guy our age. His name was Josh; I had met him before and he didn’t make the best impression on me. I started to feel like this trip was going to be a disaster all over again. Still, I tried to stay positive.
The day I got picked up I dumped my excessive amount of baggage into the trunk, hugged my dad goodbye, and plopped down into the backseat of Mik’s dad’s pick-up truck. Pretty quickly, we were off! Lillooet lake is four hours away so we had a long ride ahead of us.
It was getting dark by the time we reached the campgrounds. Mik’s mom and the other family had already started a campfire. After setting up our tents we all gathered around the fire. Nicole (the boys’ mom) and Mik’s parents began chattering like a bunch of chickadees, occasionally squawking in laughter. Their chirps filled the otherwise silent forest with jubilee.
Contrarily, the kids sat in awkward silence. We listened to the adults go on and on about crazy coworkers, unbearable in-laws, and the seemingly never-ending amount of upkeep a garden requires. That night I snuggled into my sleeping bag wondering if this is what the next two nights held for me.
The next morning I was awoken by the sound of a barbecue sizzling. I sat up and stretched my back, sore after a night of sleeping on the cold, hard ground. I unzipped the tent and peeked out to see a couple people huddling around a small fire, clutching cups of coffee with one hand and smoking cigarettes with the other. I turned to Mik and said,“Wake up! Let’s go eat.”
We stumbled out into the campsite and promptly poured generous bowls of cinnamon toast crunch for ourselves. We sat side by side facing the lake, enjoying the serenity of listening to the campers surrounding us wake up. Suddenly, a zip! caused us to turn around.
“Good morning,” mumbled Josh.
“Hey,” smiled Mik.
He came over to us and sat down on the same log we were sitting on. But before it could get awkward, he turned and asked: “So, how did you guys sleep?”
This one line lifted a weight I hadn’t realized I’d been carrying off my shoulders. His extension of an olive branch led into a casual conversation about how, yes, it was cold last night! And yes, we did hear the girl in the next campground fighting with her boyfriend about whether or not she was tripping on mushrooms at one AM!
This conversation filled me with gut-wrenching guilt at prematurely judging Josh. I decided to try and balance out my karma with a kind gesture: “Josh, do you want to join Mik and I to go swimming later?” This took care of two birds with one stone: Josh would feel included and I could pee in the lake instead of using the outhouse. I still hadn’t mustered up the courage to use it, opting instead for a bush.
The rest of the day was spent floating lavishly in the sun, periodically dipping into the deep, milky blue water to cool off. Mik, Josh and I talked for hours while we lounged. The conversation carried on into the night, when we stayed up in one tent and even snuck out together to explore the forest.
The following day, we packed up and went our separate ways. As we pulled out of the campground, I gazed out the window and had a realization: I’m really going to miss this place… and Josh. Who would’ve thought!
Ever since I survived my venture into the bush I’ve dealt with indecision with a much more optimistic outlook.