We huddled under the old dinghy, trying not to giggle. There were six of us – Laurie, Jeff, Sylvia, Mike and Mike, and me. John was It so he had to look for us. There were some dried up white cocoons in there and a fair number of millipedes and armadillo bugs had scuttled off when we crawled into our hiding spot. Sylvia was right next to me and I could smell her apple shampoo mixed with the damp wood and soft pine needles under us.
It was already August and we’d be going back to school in two weeks. But for the short time between when John called Ready Or Not and the littler Mike sneezed and gave us away, we were safe and Sylvia’s arm was next to mine. I could see her smile in the light that came through a knothole in the boat’s keel. There was no schoolbells in that smile, no alarm clocks or buses to catch, no shivering on the track for first period gym class. There was only coconut suntan lotion and beachsand and Nutty Buddies dripping ice cream down your fingers, and knowing that we wouldn’t kiss this summer but maybe the next, and that this was soon enough.
So I wasn’t too angry at Mike when John lifted the boat. We scrambled out and ran laughing toward base, but Jeff got tagged. I think John may have let Laurie get away because he liked her, or maybe because he had poison ivy and didn’t want to give it to a girl. Which was more or less the same thing, back then.