Lonely, Not Alone
Joel, Age 10, Rutherford, NJ

As I opened the door, I knew it was going to be a horrible summer. The campers were running around tackling each other as if they were playing football. I never wanted to go to summer camp, but I was forced. The worst part about it was that I had no friends there.

It was chaos. My brothers made friends in about five minutes, while I sat in the corner. It felt like my parents dropped me off here just to torture me. Once is a while, Id try to make a friend, but is would all go downhill. Every day, Id sit in the corner, wishing I had a friend.

At lunch, Id try and sit with kids at a table, but theyd just walk away. I could hear the other kids laughing and screaming a mile away. Theres no way Im going to camp tomorrow, Id tell my mom. Well your brothers had fun, she explained, as my brothers ran around screaming in the background.

Each day, my mom dragged me to camp. It was the same every morning. My brothers swung the door open. They ran over to their friends. I walked over to the corner like I owned that part of the camp. Id just curl up into a ball and stay there for the whole day.

One afternoon, I noticed a kid sitting at a table by himself. I walked over to him. Would you like to play basketball? I asked him. He nodded. We played, laughing and telling jokes. At lunch we sat together and laughed as we chewed on our food. When my mom picked me up, I waved smiling.

The next day, I got ready for camp as quickly as possible, knowing I had a friend at camp. I was out of the corner as happy as can be.

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