Every year my family and I went up to the north, Cape Breton. Up to the island where the best beaches opened up into the Atlantic Ocean. My father was from this part of the province. We spent Christmas time each year at his parent’s place a bit south, then camped up north for at least a couple of weeks every August.
Our family was always up in these parts during late summer. Something I always looked forward to soo much after a year of being bullied at school. It was an escape from “reality” and from feeling “trapped” at school and in the town we lived in.
This time It was the summer of 1994. We always camped in tents. We never could afford a trailer or camper van. I always preferred this. My grandfather had a camper trailer that fit on the back of his truck. I was always told that it was only for the girl cousins in the family. Camping in a tent seemed much cooler to me anyway since I was a child. My Dad wanted us to experience the outdoors. So I never complained.
In 1994, that summer, I was fifteen going on sixteen, I had my own red, two-person tent anyway. My own space. My younger brother was in the big tent with our parents still. During this time I was in my early years of learning to play guitar. I always had my cassette tape walkman and headphones with me. Even at the beach and while I walked around the campground. I was always walking, dancing and singing…and miming the guitar. A guitar I couldn’t bring camping.
It was during one of my walks that a girl, one year older than I, approached me. A tall and beautiful girl. Brunette. She was from Massachusetts, USA. Her name was Theresa. She was a year older than I was. We started chatting so much that we went to the nearby shelter of picnic tables. There we got to know what we were both into. We talked about music a lot and she even got me to write down what songs I knew on my guitar (which took a while). This girl really seemed to be interested in me. I still remember how she smile an looked right into my eyes when she talked to me.
For my entire family trip, Theresa and I were inseparable. My parents got to know her father, Rick, whom she was there with. She (and even her Dad) came with us to various beaches that summer almost daily. We had camping meals together too. Theresa and I became very close. The very first girl I ever became close with. We were two peas in a pod that summer. It was hard two weeks later when we had to say goodbye. Like being set with a prison sentence.
I never had many friends in my life. Very little true friends. I can count them on one hand to this day. Theresa was a great friend. I was fifteen and she was sixteen. I knew she had a boyfriend at home, but we were in our own little camping and beachside world together up there by the beach when we were together. I was very hard to say goodbye that year…
…skip ahead to one year later. The summer of 1995. Same place. My family is camping in the same campground…and Theresa and her Dad were also back again camping in the same place. Talk about happiness. I wish there was a home video of our smiles and hugs together after seeing each other once again when we both thought it would never happen.
I couldn’t believe Theresa was there again. I couldn’t believe it. We were inseparable again, strolling around the campground and hanging out at the beach and by the mountain river waterfall. My favorite waterfalls. The falls I want some of my ashes spread in some day. We talked and talked about music, movies, tv shows, and high school. She was a most special friend to me. We stuck together for our entire trip there once again. I even went on adventures with her and her Dad while my parents went elsewhere with my younger brother.
We said our goodbyes that August of 1995 thinking we would likely see each other again the next summer or speak on the phone. We did speak on the phone once, around Spring 1996 when I got permission to call her long distance into the USA. That was the final time we ever spoke to each other or had any contact.
We also never returned as a family to that same camping place or vacationed anywhere together again. Things changed for whatever reason as a family. I graduated high school and moved out the following year. My parents divorced seven years later. Yes. Things do change. I imagine things changed in Theresa’s life in many ways as well.
This all happened during many years before social media and Facebook…or even digital photography. I wish I had a picture of her and I together. I am sure we would have kept in touch on Facebook, if it had existed. We knew each other during the time when the internet was only in its baby steps. Barely in our schools. Letters in the mail or phone calls were how you communicated with someone as far apart as we were from each other at that time. Hard to believe.
I hope Theresa is doing very well these days. She likely is married with kids by now. I wish I could say the same. I imagine she has also thought about what happened to me from time to time. I am sure she wishes me well too.
I hope so. With things like this, a person can only remember and smile at the good times we had with that other person. She now only exists in my memories.
Very good and cherished memories. ♥