The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I met Georgia at the Free Library.  She approached me with a smile and told me she didn’t know what she wanted to talk about.  After asking her what one of her biggest fears is, she told me that she’s afraid of the dark.  This fear led to her recollection of the summers she spent at summer camp and how the counselors had the tradition of forcing the campers to walk outside and to a lake without turning their flashlights on and without talking.  The counselors would only be wearing towels to cover their body and after they were done with their skit, they would remove their towels and jump into the water.  She told me she wasn’t afraid of the dark then because she was surrounded by the other campers; and she mentioned that by the end she remembered thinking the whole thing was “actually beautiful.”

The counselors gathered us together and forced us to walk through the woods—in the dark—without turning our flashlights on and without making a sound.  I could already feel my heart beating two times too fast at the thought of walking through the dark and knowing that the camp was located on an ancient Native American burial ground wasn’t helping.  

Once we reached the calm, dark lake, the counselors all lined up on the shaky dock and turned their flashlights on, pointing it at their faces.  The bright, white light created shadows on their faces and made them look ghastly.  Their eyes were hidden behind black shadows, only their white pupils sticking out against the harsh light; and once in a while they would smile sinisterly showing a set of great, dangerous teeth.

“And then the Native American warrior took out his arrow and stuck it right through the heart of the woman who had betrayed him…”one of the counselors spoke, her voice barely audible over the small wind that seemed to carry it away into the distant places she talked about.  And they each took turns telling the horrible story before dropping their flashlights, removing their towels and jumping into the leech infested water.

“They’re so brave,” one of the campers sighed.  All that could be heard were the crickets and the soft splashes created by the counselors in the water.  I looked around and let my eyes adjust to the darkness.  Being surrounded by the other campers kept me from becoming afraid of the black night.  And as I stood there and listened to the soothing sounds, I felt a sense of peace.  It was actually kind of beautiful.

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I met Georgia at the Free Library. She approached me with a smile and told me she didn’t know what she wanted to talk about. After asking her what one of her biggest fears is, she told me that she’s afraid of the dark. This fear led to her recollection of the summers she spent at summer camp and how the counselors had the tradition of forcing the campers to walk outside and to a lake without turning their flashlights on and without talking. The counselors would only be wearing towels to cover their body and after they were done with their skit, they would remove their towels and jump into the water. She told me she wasn’t afraid of the dark then because she was surrounded by the other campers; and she mentioned that by the end she remembered thinking the whole thing was “actually beautiful.”

Recorded by Derya Yilmaz on May 2, 2014
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