I wanted a fresh start. I wanted to go somewhere where nobody knew my name, my history, anything. Well, not quite. What I really wanted was to go back to Clara Dunn and see all my friends who have a cleaner past than I do.
Driving with my Dad to Brighten Creek for a youth camp for Baha’i’s was making me more and more anxious. I couldn’t wait to see all my friends from last winter break, but then again, I could. I made so many mistakes this year and I wasn’t about ready to tell them what happened during my lovely little junior year.
There it was. Clara Dunn Academy for young Baha’i’s. My stomach was tangled in knots from nerves and I didn’t want to be here anymore, but already two of my old friends bounded up to me to give me a hug and I was almost in tears before they yanked me away to our new cabin.
‘We’ve missed you so much Kelsey! What’s been going on this year for you? Wow your hair got so long!’ ‘Oh you know — same old same old — well enough about me, lets go talk about you Celina! And what about you Alex how’s that guitar working out for you?’ Please no more questions! I wanted to say, but Alex already started talking about his latest band gig and Celina was telling me all about her new crush — whew. Everyone was just the way I left them.
Clean, graceful, smart, and definitely not stupid. None of these kids would ever get mixed up with the wrong crowd like I’ve did or wake up in the middle of nowhere after a huge party, but I was so wrong. Celina and I were bunkmates and we ended up talking all night during our last night at Clara Dunn.
She told me that this year was her most challenging year as far as high school goes. She and her old boyfriend got into drugs this year and she said it was almost too hard for her to get out. Also, her best friend dropped out of high school and started to drag her down with her.
She said if she didn’t have Clara Dunn every year where she could just leave the world and come back in nine days, she wouldn’t have made it. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t the only one who screwed up, and I wasn’t the only one who was sorry for it. I wasn’t alone. Celina’s talk with me that night seven months ago has changed my life.
After saying goodbye to all my friends at camp, I drove home with what felt like a clean slate. I was going to try to start over again at school, and not get mixed up with the wrong crowd again, which I haven’t done ever since.
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