The Book

Day 36pm: The Funeral

working at summer camp Sunday 10th July

1:53pm I swear you lose track of the days here until Sunday comes around and you realise there’s no post. We’ve only got one week left of this session, and then we’ll be halfway through the summer. It’s going so fast.

After the iPod paintings we did in the first session there was still one wall left that we randomly didn’t use. Ben’s done a painting of what looks like him, but with wings on a cloudy background, and written a dedication to Jamie and Anna at the bottom. It looks really good, although at the same time I find it a bit cringe. He’s making this grand gesture to some people he didn’t even know – and made himself the face of it. Just a bit weird. It does look great though and everyone else says it’s a really nice thing to do, maybe I’m just thinking too much into it.

2:38pm I tried to find out more about how Leith’s doing today in my free, but no one knew anything, so I checked the internet for news stories instead. The reports said the alcohol level in Jamie’s blood was crazy high. Apparently Leith had climbed up the ravine with a broken ankle, ruptured spleen and fractured elbow to try and wave down a car. Not a broken neck then as I thought, at least that’s something. They’d veered off the road and gone down an embankment at around 2:30am, but because it was dark, no passing cars could actually see them. Leith couldn’t stand up to get more attention because of his ankle and spleen, so it took until the sun came up at around 7:30am for a passing fireman to see Leith waving. That must have been horrific. He was screaming for help and could see and hear the cars going past, but they couldn’t see him. The article said they smashed into some trees at high speed and the car split in half killing Anna and Jamie on impact. Fuck.

6:57pm I’ve made mum and dad a little photo album of what camp is like day-to-day. I was addressing the envelope earlier at visual arts, when one of the other counselors was having a nose to see what I was doing.
Counselor: “Tipton-under-Trent? My friend lives there.”

I thought she was winding me up, but she described the village and it turns out her best friend from university lives in my old house. How weird is that? I live in a tiny village and we’re all the way out here in America. It’s such a small world.

7:57pm Just been with Cara. She’s got these flowers outside her bunk – ones that twirl in the wind – as she’s in the youngest bunk and the kids forget where they live. Every night she moves them around to confuse the kids and she finds it absolutely hilarious. Her favourite part is winding up her campers in the morning about who moved them. She said today’s story, to these poor innocent six year olds, is that it must have been the big bears in the woods coming down in the night to find a child to eat.

11:47pm It was the memorial for Jamie and Anna this evening. Anna’s family drove down from New Jersey to come and pick up her stuff and do a speech about their ‘beautiful, happy and amazing daughter’. It was horrific. Her dad said how he used to come here
to see his baby girl in the shows, and now it’s turned into her final resting place. He stood up there with her mum and brothers and they looked wretched.

Jamie’s parents didn’t come. He’s definitely getting the blame for it. People say Anna would never have got in the car if she’d known he’d been drinking, but how could she not know? She must have been at the GC and saw him drinking, surely. And she can’t have asked him if he’d been drinking because he wouldn’t have lied to her. I just don’t like how everyone is putting all the blame on him. There was no doubt the service was more for Anna, but she was better known around camp. Some counselors did readings and then they showed some photos on the projector screen that just set everyone off crying, if they weren’t already. The pictures we took when we having a crafty fag up at the GC in the first week were up there, obviously the ones without cigarettes. It made me so sad to remember that fun night. We didn’t know then that he only had two weeks left to live.

Anna’s best friend Jess did a speech. She told us how she found out about Jamie and ran to Anna’s bunk to tell her. Anna’s co counselors told her that Anna hadn’t come back that night either, she put two and two together and realised she must have been with him. How fucking awful. I just can’t, and don’t want to, imagine what I’d do if any of my best friends died. I guess you get through it somehow, but you wouldn’t want to.

I don’t know where Zoe was, and I don’t want to get annoyed about it. I don’t think she even came. Rebecca went off somewhere near the front so I was left trying to comfort our campers. It’s kind of nice when they revert to seeming being all babyish and needy of my love. Makes me feel wanted.

The service was so sad, but it was good for the kids, and the counselors, to be able to say goodbye in some sort of ceremony. The accident is really hanging over camp and it sounds awful, especially considering it was only a few days ago that I was distraught, but as Earl has told us, the camp has to move on. Kids forget quickly and he doesn’t want this to affect the next session. If the kids are sad all summer, they won’t come back next year.

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