Survivalist: Backstory

I remember lying in the tent reading Nancy Drew. The shadows of the trees pierced through the thin canvas in the bright summer sun. Outside I could hear my brother and his friend splashing around in the swimming pool, interjected with my mother or father telling them to be careful.

suddenly the ent flap is pulled open and my mother sticks her head in.

“It’s a beautiful day you’re missing out,” she said.

I sit up and hold up my book, “I’m reading. I’ve just gotten to a really good part.”

“I know honey but it’s not healthy to stay inside all the time.”

I looked up from my book, it felt like it was too soon to be home, maybe Mom wants to stop for groceries before going home. But no she was not pulling into the parking lot of the grocery store or our driveway, she was stopping in front of a building that looked like an overgrown wooden cabin surrounded by tall trees. Over the doors was a sign that read Scout Hall.

She killed the engine, “Come on let’s go.”

I unbuckle my seatbelt, “Why are we here?”

She gets out of the car and shuts her door and then opens mine, “Out you go, we’re going to be late.”

“Mom, why are we here?” I get out of the car shutting the door behind me clutching my book in my hand.

“We’re here to sign up to become a scout.”

“I don’t want to be a scout, I just want to go home and read.”

“That’s exactly why we’re here. You spend too much time by yourself indoors. You’ll get to meet other people your age and learn new things.”

“That’s so unfair. I don’t need friends and to learn how to camp.”

She rolled her eyes at me, “Everyone needs friends. And being a scout you learn much more than just camping,” she stopped in front of me and brushed a stay strand of hair from my eyes, “I know you’re going to love this if you give it a chance.”

“But mom…”

“No buts,” she said sternly, “we are enrolling you today and you’re going to give it a good try. If you still don’t like it in a year then we can discuss it.”

I could feel the prickle of tears as frustration and anger welled up inside of me, I did not want this. It was not fair.

She put her arm around my shoulder guiding me up the steps to the front door of the building, her usually comforting embrace feeling restrictive. Inside the building was buzzing with activity. Bunting was stung up crisscrossing the room and the station had been set up on the perimeter at each one, little crowds of kids surrounded the table watching and listening intently. I scanned the room, reading the banners above each title station, archery, coding, climbing, robotics, adventure camping, writing and so much more.

“Go on,” said my mom, “These are an example of all the things you’ll get to try.”

I looked up and almost protested until I saw the bookbinding station, I let go of her hand and joined the cluster of kids watching the demonstration.

Looking back I laugh at my silly younger self, grateful to my mother who pushed me to join the scouts. I thought I would hate it and had planned to leave as soon as I could, but I got sucked in. I learned about bookbinding and writing my own novel but discovered I was a great shot with a bow and arrow and had an incredible send of direction on wilderness trails. I thank my mom every day now, thinking about how I and my kids would be dead just like everyone else without the survival skills I learned there. I miss her, I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss living in an easy world and that isn’t trying to kill us at every turn.


Rocket is a d&d super fan with a lot of thoughts on things

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