Needless to say, I was an absolute magnet for popularity.
I either annoyed or intrigued nine tenths of my fellow campers, while the left over ten percent were merely frightened by me, with my insane smirk and limitless instinctual sarcasm. But there was one boy who seemed to quite like me indeed; or he did at least enough to recite a circular nerdy-types poem.
His name was Jon, though I thought he looked more like a Ben, and the first time we met he walked up to me, pen in hand and illegible literary scribblings littered across the page before me, and began, "Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a big rubber room - rubber room, rubber room, rubber room. I died in that room. They put me in the big, hard ground. There were worms in that ground. Worms? I hate worms, they drive me crazy. Crazy? I was crazy once...." And so on.
It was love at first paroxysm of geekiness. We were inseparable after that. (aaaaaaaah, we ate together, we bathed together, we even shared the same string of mint-flavored dental flosss...)
Through the rest of the week we were suctioned at the side, traipsing along through the picturesque surroundings of our luxurious Methodist camp - simultaneously learning how to shoot things and how to love God. It was a beautiful thing.
But, as all good things, our innocently unspoken love affair of poking championships and salamandar hunting had to end. The week lolloped on to Saturday, trailing into farewell hugs and last-ditch attempts to pull one over on the counselors, eventually ending with a final embrace and a dusty cloud enveloping his car.
We aggreed to keep in touch, and we did for a few weeks, but summer deteriorated into the lazy smoldering sunsets of Autumn and freedom turned into educational imprisonment, thus giving the chop to my first infatuation.
All that remains of John Tepe are a few crumpled photographs and those formative memories of good times past.