In my whole life, I’ve only met one person named Trevor. He was a tall, gangly kid, with spindly, twig-like legs that, when I think back on them now, remind me of a crane.
Although in that summer before I entered the sixth grade, I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what a crane was. I went to four different schools in my elementary school career, and I somehow missed out on the class in which cranes were discussed.
Anyway, Trevor wasn’t at all graceful, as I imagine cranes are. He was as awkward as you’d expect a tall, skinny kid to be. And although we were both the same age, his height and his quiet demeanor made him appear older and wiser than the rest of the Lions—which is the name of the group of 11- and 12-year old boys we both belonged to at the summer day camp our parents forced us to attend.
It was Trevor’s sense of maturity that drew me to him—that, and the fact that he was reading a beat-up paperback copy of The Hobbit whenever we weren’t swimming, making crafts or being picked last for softball. If Trevor minded being picked last, or being picked on, or having to stand way out in left field, plagued by mosquitoes when he’d rather have been finding out how Bilbo Baggins made it out of Shelob’s lair, he never let on. He took everything in stride. “That’s the way the old ball crumbles,” he used to say.
Trevor wasn’t anything like Trevor in Grand Theft Auto V. But Sterling was. (I’m not sure why this particular day camp attracted so many little boys with fancy-sounding names. Maybe the particular suburb of New Orleans where I spent those formative years had been colonized by the British years earlier.)
Sterling was everything Trevor wasn’t—short, stocky, athletic, and always spoiling for a fight. I never saw Sterling attack anyone with a baseball bat or threaten to torture them with a car battery, like Trevor from GTAV, but I can’t swear I never saw him howling at the moon. And it wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that Sterling spent a lot of time walking around in his tighty-whities.
I’m just grateful he was always properly clothed whenever he would wrestle me to the ground, which was pretty much every day. Sterling liked to wrestle the way other people like to shake hands. Despite that, we got along pretty well.
Sterling had come to camp the year between fourth and fifth grade, when I was 11, but he wasn’t there the following year, when I met Trevor. Which I decided was a good thing. I’d grown into a more adult kid around Trevor; I had no more room in my heart for Sterling’s preadolescent tomfoolery. I mean, I was reading books now!
I figured I’d left Trevor and Sterling behind forever when I entered middle school. Once you turned 13, you were either a junior counselor, helping the grownups corral the younger kids in the Leopards, Tigers and Bears, or you just disappeared, phased out of existence like people over 30 in Logan’s Run. I assumed I was done with day camp forever.
My parents had other plans, however, and I found myself back at camp that next summer, not as a junior counselor—the staff decided I wasn’t management material, despite my new book-reading ways—but as a member of the Lions. Held back, like the kid in my class who’d failed the sixth grade three times. I was mortified.
To make matters worse, Trevor and Sterling both returned to camp as junior counselors. They both were so busy keeping the Leopards and Tigers and Bears in line that I hardly ever saw either of them that summer.
And of course, while I was swimming, crafting and getting picked last for softball, all the while wanting to howl at the moon and demolish the swing sets with a baseball bat, the two of them became fast friends.
I mean, why wouldn’t they? They were both in positions of authority, no doubt conferred upon them because of their fancy names. As far as I knew, they spent their afternoons in the junior counselors’ lunchroom, sipping tea, eating scones, discussing the merits of wrestling and J.R.R. Tolkien and wondering whatever happened to that one curly-haired kid—what was his name? Devin? Carlin? Kelvin?
Oh, well, they probably said to each other as they dabbed at their mouths with linen napkins. That’s the way the old ball crumbles.
On consoles September 17th.