Again!? I thought to myself for what seemed like the hundredth time as cold water splashed up onto my back, the dirty river water seeping uncomfortably into my shirt.

Gritting my teeth, I tried not to go to his level and splash back. The fact that I was in a canoe full of boys produced a dull fire of anger in my head, as I rowed along. Venting my frustration out through the paddle, I shoved it forcefully into the water as I hunched over against the sun. Vaguely, I heard a muffled swish of another canoe approaching.

“Row!” Immanuel bellowed.

I felt my face contort into a scowl at being ordered to do something I was already doing by someone who wasn’t rowing. Thud! A second canoe slammed against us, causing our canoe to lurch to the side. I rolled my eyes, trying to satisfy the urge to beat the people on the other canoe over the head with my paddle.

I heard a hollow thump as a paddle smacked against the side of our canoe. I turned, my face flushing with anger, and saw that one of the boys in the other canoe had hooked their paddle onto the side of our canoe, forcing us to drag them. The flames inside my head flared up into a raging forest fire. I wanted to fly at whoever had attached their paddle to the side of the canoe. As if my patience was the rope on a bomb and the fire was eating it up, eventually I would have to blow. Trying to ignore the extra weight of the other canoe attached to ours, I continued paddling, but I couldn’t take it. The bomb went off.

“You know you’re not allowed to do that?! But clearly you don’t, or else you wouldn’t be doing it! Next time, how about you actually listen to the directions!” I snapped.

One of the boys made some unintelligent response that is unworthy of my memory.

Turing back around, I held my head high but inside my mind it was franticly going: Happy place, happy place! I cast about for a happy place.

As if my mind was waiting for that very command all along, “21 Guns” by Green Day erupted inside my head: “One, twenty-one guns. Lay down your arms, give up the fight. One, twenty-one guns, throw up your arms into the sky, you and I.”

This was my happy place because I love to listen to anything Green Day, specifically American Idiot. I managed to bring myself back to my happy place for the rest of the canoe ride. The Charles River slid in and out of focus as my mind went from Harry Potter, back to the Charles River, to Gilmore Girls, back again to the Charles River, and then to shore, all the while playing different songs from American Idiot.
I felt the canoe bump up against something and I looked up sharply, thinking it was the boys from the other canoe again. It wasn’t; it was the dock. My heart filled with joy. I had reached land – beautiful, wonderful, marvelous land, where there were no boys being miscreants.

Well…they’re just less of an annoyance on land than they are on water.

8th grade

Simmons Camp
Polished Piece

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