Sukkot: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #13 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)

Sukkot started out rather sadly for me that year. One of my favorite characters in my book died on the car trip to the campground. Everyone around me was excitedly talking about how awesome this camping trip was going to be, but I was looking out the car window with tears rolling down my face. The leaves blowing across the road to the campground whirled around our wheels and emblazoned the memory into my mind.

“My dear, fellow conspirator’s eyes were closed in unconsciousness, and his skin was growing cold. The quiet, autumn breeze that caused the brown, crinkly leaves to fall around us also blew some of his dark hair into his face as I squeezed his hand and cried.”

This was too depressing… I put down my notebook and wiped my eyes.
My future husband was supposed to be out here, wasn’t he? Maybe he was in one of these cars we were passing.
I had some new information about him. He had a daughter. I wasn’t sure if she was actually his, or adopted. They seemed really close, but didn’t look all that alike, at least not spiritually.
I was starting to feel a little crazy. Supposedly God had told me all this stuff about the man I was praying for, but how was I to know that I wasn’t just making it up?
Then again… what girl in her right mind would make up some of the character flaws I knew he had?
I brushed the doubts away and focused on looking through the window.
“Let me know his voice, Lord,” I whispered. “Let me recognize his voice. That would be cool.”

We made it to the church’s site in the campground, and unloaded all our stuff into a cabin. That was a strange experience. When we had left home the morning before, there had been frost on the floors of the trailers because it was so cold. But this cabin had electricity and a heater, so it was toasty warm. 
Camping was more comfortable than normal life for once.
Ironies aside, the plans for this week-long festival were looking pretty hopeful. It was a multi-church function, so people were arriving in handfuls every hour.
I craned my neck and closely looked over each new arrival.
But my special man didn’t show up that first day.
Oh well… there are seven more days to this, I thought as I cuddled into the blankets that night. Maybe he’s running late. Lord, be with him. Bring him to me soon, please…

The next day, I took the opportunity to slip away into the woods encroaching on the campground. There were nature paths to explore, big rocks to hop on, and a creek to dip my feet in. I loved the freedom to traipse about without younger siblings hanging onto me.
Then the next day, it all got better. One of my new friends came to the campground. We both could explore the woods together, and chat about life. I was kind of disappointed when supper time rolled around, because we had to go back to the camp and eat with the others.

After supper, every night of the feast, there was a service. These were okay. It kinda got boring having one every night. But I usually took the opportunity to scan the crowd for new arrivals.
That night, during the meet-and-greet part of the service, my friend and I were approached by a large man. He smiled at us, and shook our hands, and asked our names. Apparently, earlier that day, he had seen my friend and her brother walking in a nearby town. He had offered them a ride back to the campground, but they had declined.
We didn’t talk more than a couple sentences before my friend’s mother saw our conversation. She immediately swooped in like a hawk and came to stand beside us, glaring at the man with suspicious eyes.
He almost immediately got the hint, said goodbye, and left us alone.
As soon as he was gone, my friend’s mother turned to us.
“You good girls should know better! You were smiling at him!”
Our eyes grew huge, but we didn’t reply to her continuing lecture.
That guy is like… my parents’ age! I inwardly thought. We weren’t smiling like that!
The meet-and-greet was ending. We all sat down. My friend and I sheepishly looked at each other.

The next night, my parents came to me.
“Jess… you know that guy that came to talk to you and your friend?”
“Um… yeah.”
“Do you feel anything… bad… off of him?”
I analyzed the question. They knew I was pretty good at sensing rotten characters.
But when I honestly thought about it, I didn’t feel anything, anything at all.
“No,” I told them.
“Your friend’s mom thinks that he’s a predator.”
I winced and shook my head. “Na… I’d notice that a mile away. There’s nothing wrong with that guy. I think she’s overreacting.”
They nodded, and then glanced at each other.
“Just to be safe… no more traipsing about in the woods alone,” Dad mandated.
“What about… with my friend?”
“Take your brother if you go anywhere. Better safe than sorry.”
I sighed and set my chin in my hand.

The next day, I woke up sick. I was sick the whole rest of the week. I couldn’t go mingle with the other people, I couldn’t go explore the wonderful woods by myself…
My Sukkot was officially ruined.

Click here to read the next post in this series: The Door

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