In a Picture
All the kids turned to look at Kai’s sister. Lena stared back across the circle; everyday they all told stories at lunch. Making up the best ones they could to trick the teenage camp counselors. More often then not though they ended in giggles and eye-rolls when the lies were confessed. But now Kai was looking too, “She wouldn’t know, Lena’s never met him.”
Lena wanted to laugh it off too, Kai’s story about their older brother dripped of her sister’s desire to be the younger sibling. “I’ve never met him either, Mom doesn’t talk about him. But I’ve seen him in a picture.” Kai’s voice rose in protest at the disbelief. Finally the groups counselor Amy stepped in.
“OK, enough stories today,” she put a hand on Kai’s shoulder, “it’s our last day, only a couple hours until your parents get here, lets have some fun!”
The campers broke back up into their age groups sending Kai and Lena in opposite directions. Even with the girls apart, or maybe because of it, the whispers started.
As Lena’s group worked on finishing their collages her table partner watched her; eyes wide but not speaking. The boy behind her poked Lena with his brush, “your sister’s is such a liar.” Lena did her best to ignore them and finish her project.
Kai’s group was split; some believed her and others teased her for not playing along and giving up her fib. They were running around signing each others camp shirts when one girl scribbled ‘LIAR’ instead of her name. Kai caught her and pushed her to the ground. As the girl scrambled through the pine-needles Amy pulled Kai aside, “your mother will be here in half and hour, you sit on that bench,” she turned to the other girl who was now standing a few feet away giving Kai a victorious glare, “and you over there, don’t talk to each other.”
Kai huffed and waited out the day in silence. When she saw her mother’s car pull up she jumped up and started to run towards it. Lena caught her after just a few steps. “They said we had to wait, they have to talk with Mom.”
Kai crossed her arms and threw herself down right where she stood creasing her eyebrows and pulling a huge pout to her lips.
At the far picnic tables their mother sat with Amy and the camp director. They informed her about the shoving incident and her eyes darted to her daughter across the recreation are.
“Do you know what made her so upset?” Mrs. Shepard asked bringing her attention back to the table. The Director left Amy to explain.
“The other girl called her a liar,” she paused twirling her hair around her finger, talking to parents still made her nervous, “at lunch they take turns making up stories trying to fool us, usually they give up and have a good laugh about it. Today Kai insisted that her story was true,” she paused again and looked at the Mrs. Shepard once more.
“What was she saying that they would react like that? I’ve never known her to be much of a story-teller.”
The Director encouraged Amy again, “She tried to tell everyone that she has a secret older brother, she’d never met him but had seen his picture. It seemed pretty classic until she wouldn’t admit…” the Director tapped her arm and Amy stopped mid sentence, when she looked up at Mrs. Shepard the woman looked as if she’d seen a ghost.