Once, when I was a fifteen year old camper at Catalina Island camp, I snuck out to party in the lodge with some of the counselors. They were all all older than me, some almost twenty, and in my eyes way cool. I felt honored to be included with a group that had shared so much hippie wisdom with me, that I probably grew an inch taller in that hour.
Well, one minute we were all laughing and chugging down Boone’s Farm sweet wine and the next there was this horrific crash as I watched the party disintegrate into a jealous punching match.
Two of our ski boat drivers, Matt and Steve were on the floor rolling over and over in a vicious brawl. I guess they pined for the same counselor, a tanned California blonde named Gail. And when she turned her attention to Steve, Matt lost it. He attacked Steve with a vengeance even my step-father didn’t have.
They rose to their feet and I watched horrified as Steve’s face swelled under Matt’s bloodying blows. He hit the door and then bounced back like a racquetball rebounding off a court wall. Even now Matt didn’t let up but hit him again and again as Steve tried like hell to block his blows.
“Stop!” I cried leaping out of the way. I shouted again but they kept at it. Now Steve bent over and head butt Matt in the gut forcing both of them against the pool table.
I retreated to the corner of the lodge and curled up into a ball. Why won’t they listen? I thought sobbing uncontrollably.
“You guys p-please, no more. No more. No more..”
I guess my tears must have finally got through to them because a moment later they were all gathered around me.
“This is horrible. You guys should f-forgive each other,” I begged between gulping sobs, hoping my innocent eyes would open their hearts.
They both shook their heads.
“But it’s wrong. There should be peace in the world.” I sniffled.
“Sorry, kid. That’s just a dream. Or a song on the radio. You understand?” Matt asked.
I shook my head. No, I didn’t. And all these years later, I still don’t.
(The above is an excerpt from a new novel I’m working on. I think this scene embodies its theme. )
The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry, Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward co-wrote Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net