At night, half of Alex’s boys stage a brawl outside their cabin. When the camp director comes to break it up, Alex and the other boys douse him with buckets of water from the balcony.
In the morning he receives a firm reprimand from the now-dry camp director— fingers pointing, voices barking. I witness the tail end of the tongue-lashing as it goes down behind the boathouse.
There’s a letter from Alex in my pigeonhole after dinner, saying he wants to talk, that he is handing in his resignation and leaving for Utah. But I have a private tennis-lesson that night and never go to find Alex.
When two days pass and I don’t see him, I assume he has gone. The pressure in the air has been building all afternoon and an hour before dinner the first boom echoes across the lake. I turn the boat in early as rain begins to dollop across the water’s surface.
The lightening continues well after lights-out and I convince my bunkmates to drive down to the dock for a better view. We spend half an hour taking in the spectacle, ‘aw’-ing every time another bolt rips through the sky, giddy with nerves and excitement. When our shorts are soaked through, we head back.
I can barely hear over the pounding rain on the car roof. As we pass Alex’s cabin, instinct tells me to crack open the tinted window.
I know exactly where he’ll be standing. Leaning on the railing, letting the drops bounce off his bare shoulders. Through the half open window, rain leaps onto my face and the hand I’ve raised to wave. Blinking the water out of my eyes I focus again. He looks toward the darkened car, and without a hint of recognition, raises his middle finger. Then he turns back and keeps watching the rain, just like I wish I was doing. So I roll up the window and carry on.