That night at dinner Auntie Laine took me to this little Mexican restaurant and asked me what I wanted to do for the last few weeks of summer while she was at work. I shrugged, but I guess she'd already thought about this so she gave me some suggestions.
"Well, there's a surf camp or junior lifeguard classes at the beach. There is a beach volleyball camp or an all-day sports camp where I guess you can play a bunch of different sports."
I picked at the chips served with my burrito at The Burnt Tortilla.
"Then there is this arts and crafts center where you could hang out,"
I shook my head at the sound of that.
"And then there's a soccer camp."
I looked up. "Yeah, soccer camp." I'd just finished up camp in Portland and loved the idea of another couple weeks of soccer.
"Okay, so I'm going to take tomorrow morning off so I can introduce you to the family where you'll hang out while I'm at work. Then we'll get you signed up for soccer and I'll head off to work."
"Okay," I said and thought about how different this soccer camp would be. Every summer since second grade I'd gone to camp and known every girl and every boy, knew who the best strikers and defenders were, knew which club teams everyone played for and where they went to school. My best friend, Natalie (Nat for short) and I had played together since first grade. Her dad was a coach at University of Portland and we used to go to games together and dream of playing in the soccer final four, winning an NCAA championship together. We both still had that dream even though I now lived a thousand miles away and when I got home from dinner I called her to tell her about camp.
"That's awesome," Nat said.
"I wish you could come with me. I'm not going to know anyone. Who knows who my partner will be or if any of them will be any good." Nat and I had a high standard for soccer and I wondered if the girls here in LA would be as good as we were.
"Well, you'll get the chance to scout out the competition that will end probably end up at UCLA."
"True that, " I said and then it was quite for a second.
"So, how are things with your aunt? Is she cool?"
"Yeah, I mean it's all right. She's okay. She wants me to talk all the time and hang out and she seems a little like she isn't sure what she's doing. She's never had kids or anything so, whatever. I have to wait and see how things go. Have you seen Derrick or Jason?"
"Uh, no. Paris and I went to the mall and the movies yesterday but we didn't see anyone."
I imagined Nat and Paris going on with their lives without me and suddenly felt every single mile that separated us. "Oh well. Maybe you should call him and then they could meet you guys instead of trying to guess where they'll be."
"Oh, yeah, I guess I could do that."
I shook my head at my best friend because I knew she just liked the drama of possibility, possibly seeing her crush or possibly bumping into her enemies.
"Okay, well, I better go," I said, thinking I should see what Auntie Laine was up to before I went to bed and as I hung up the phone I knew more that just soccer camp was going to be completely different. I was leaving Portland, Oregon, the only world I'd known before far, far behind and entering something completely unknown.