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Camp

I join my boy in the lice check line. Whenever one of the soon-to-be campers passes the test, he or she lets out a little whoop. Avery shakes his head and whispers, “Not having lice is not a good reason to cheer.” When he passes his exam I refrain from clapping. Thing is, our water heater has been out for two days. I went down into the crawlspace to check but the metal cylinder looked like an unexploded bomb. Maybe one of the workers turned it off while attempting to fix the A/C. Maybe the pilot light went out. I have boiled half a dozen pots of water since Saturday morning, the last of which we used to sponge our pits. We’d been invited to a brunch and didn’t want to stink the place up. At the table, a woman whose husband is a poet, asked me over a steaming plate of food, “Can you even change a light bulb?’ She was joking, kind of. I’d played the straight man in my wife’s story about the heater so had asked for it. However, being a poet, I was light on my verbal feet: “No, but I can change it into something else.” Now Avery and I are in line to check-in his luggage. He wonders aloud why it took three bags to achieve the desired task. We are standing in the parking lot surrounded by families wearing camp T-shirts and flip-flops. Ali is stuck in the orientation meeting. It’s heating up. I contemplate suggesting he repack everything himself. Then Avery asks, obviously worried, almost shaking with nervousness: “You’re not going to stay for lunch, are you?” “No, of course not,” I say. “We’ve already eaten.”