The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland(6)

By: Rebekah Crane



A wave of exhaustion hits me as Kerry goes over the rules. Numbness creeps up my legs and spine and, for a moment, I think I could actually fall asleep standing up. It’s the best I’ve felt all day, just sinking into a dazed stupor. When he gets to the rule about no food in the cabin, I almost raise my hand and ask if popping diet pills like candy counts as food, but that would mean raising my hand. Instead, I stare down at the ground, pushing dirt around with my shoe, and conjugate.

J’ai fini

Tu as fini

Il a fini

“Rule number four: If you are on any kind of medication, you must continue taking it at camp. The nurse will dispense all meds in the morning and evening at the Wellness Center. See her immediately if you have any shift in mood or think you might harm yourself.”

Nous avons fini

Vous avez fini

“You’d think this camp is for crazy people the way this guy talks.” I glance up at the boy next to me. He’s about a million feet tall. I have to put my hand up to my eyes to block the sun just to look at him.

“I don’t think it’s for crazy people. I know it is,” I whisper.

“‘Kids with heightened mental or emotional states,’ I believe is what the brochure says. Technically every teenager is in a heightened emotional state. At least boys are. I think about sex a hundred times a day, which definitely makes for a heightened emotional state. And a physical one for that matter.” The boy looks down at his crotch.

“You think about sex that much?”

“Yes.”

I glance back at Kerry. I don’t know what to say to this boy. We’re already talking about sex and I don’t even know his name.

“And food,” the boy whispers.

“What?”

“Food. Boys think about food a lot, too.” He bends down closer to my ear. “Just in case you were wondering.”

I nod, unsure of where this is going. “Do you want me to tell you what girls think about?”

“No. Then I’ll have to think about it and I’m already busy thinking about food and sex. The mind can only take so much.” He taps on his temple. “I don’t want to push it. Heightened emotional state, remember.”

“Right,” I say and go back to staring at the ground. But every few seconds, I look up at him. He’s skinny and long everywhere, like he’ll probably fill out when he goes to college, but right now his metabolism is so high he can’t eat enough to keep up. Brown hair hangs over his blue-brown eyes, which are too big for his face, like he’s a cartoon character, but not a prince cartoon. The quirky sidekick, maybe.

“Rule number ten,” Kerry says, practically yelling. “Boys sleep in the boys’ quarters. Girls sleep in the girls’ quarters.”

The boy next to me raises his hand to ask a question. “What about the girls who think they might be boys? Where do they sleep?”

Kerry crosses his arms over his chest. “In the girls’ quarters.”

“Just checking.” The boy nods at Kerry and smiles down at me again. My stomach gets tight. Tight like I just did twenty-five crunches in gym class. The feeling startles me.

“I’m Grover, by the way,” the boy whispers. “Grover Cleveland.”





CHAPTER 3

Cher Papa,

J’ai été enlevé par des étrangers. S’il te plaît, envoie de l’aide.

Cordialement,

Alex Trebek



Kerry tells us that every day we are allowed to pick between an array of activities ranging from arts and crafts to horseback riding, but the longer he talks, the harder it becomes to concentrate on anything but the boy next to me.

“You are in charge of your path,” Kerry says. “The counselors are here to guide you, but you’re old enough to make your own decisions. The only daily requirement is that you attend your cabin’s group therapy session.” He finishes his speech and tells us that dinner is in an hour. The sun shines in my eyes as I stare up at the kid next to me.

“Grover Cleveland? Like the president?” I say.

Grover nods and reaches into his back pocket. He pulls out a small notebook and pen. “And you are?”

I step back from him and run through the list of disorders Cassie rattled off. “Do you think you’re Grover Cleveland or is that your real name?”

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