“Hey, it’s not sunny in here, my friend.” My roommate had been over by her bunk for minutes, now. The minutes piled on, but her sunglasses weren’t coming off. I watched with my arms resting on my sheets, a comfortable twelve feet between us. She knows I know. When the shades stay on, there’s something to hide. And there’s nothing worth hiding around here.
We’re leaders at a youth camp, counselors of the sacrificial kind. We share shampoo and toothpaste, shower with our sandals on out here in the internet-less woods so that groups of girls can watch and learn. So they can ask questions and laugh and play, so they can live like us, and we can live like Christ. In all of this exampling, I try to get at her so these summer days can move on without this thick, unbreathable air. But she bats my hand away when I reach for the shades.
“Don’t.” Her muscles are tightened, shoulders unmoving, jaw clenched, teeth grinding, fists. I can’t see her eyes, but I’m frozen in her stare, still. Months ago, she tore me apart with words about priority. Saying that I was wrong to sideline her the way I was, because she was investing in me like a friend does and should. Frozen before her, I swallowed a thousand words that fought and clawed to come up. I’d go to bed that night, staring at the same ceiling as my roommate, wondering about her priorities. And mine.
Sunglasses weren’t a brick wall like this every day. Sometimes, I’d bring my guitar back to the cabin, expecting a sort of serenade, a musical denoument, a jam of the lullaby kind. Tonight was one of those nights.