How to ruin a summer vac.., p.16
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       How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, p.16

         Part #1 of How to Ruin series by Simone Elkeles
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Page 16


  "Really? Its that small?"

  "The whole state of Israel is like the size of New Jersey. "

  "No kidding?"

  "Nope. "

  Man, the way it sounds Im starting to think American kids really do get the better end of the stick.

  Ofra and I walk back to the campfire, where the rest of the group is setting out sleeping bags.

  Now I panic.

  I didnt plan for sleeping bags. Where are the tents? When people go camping back home theres tents. Or cabins. Or teepees.

  "I didnt bring a sleeping bag," I say quietly to Ofra.

  "Thats okay," she says. "Im sure Avi will share with you.

  I blink, as if that would clear my hearing problem.

  "Come on, Amy," Ofra says as she pushes my shoulder back. "You know Avi likes you. "

  Avi? Likes me? I dont think so.

  "He hates me," I say.

  I look over at the guy, and hes sitting on his sleeping bag Indian style, a guitar resting on his leg. "He called me a spoiled American bitch," I say to prove my point.

  "Maybe he likes spoiled American bitches," she says before walking off to join Snotty, Doo-Doo, and Odead.

  "Right," I mumble back, although I know she cant hear me.

  And for the first time since I came to Israel, Im truly confused to the point where Im getting this weird feeling inside my stomach every time I look at Avi.

  Yes, hes hot as all get out.

  Yes, hes about as masculine as a guy could get.

  Yes, hes helped me with the snake-guts and herding the sheep.

  But hes also arrogant, rude, and totally ignorant.

  Could a guy like that actually be attracted to me?

  On the other hand, could I actually be attracted to a guy like that?


  Faking it. . . Its another way of manipulating people into doing what we want.

  Were all sitting in front of the campfire, which is blazing now thanks to all three of the guys. And were listening to Avi play his guitar. I have to admit, his voice is very soothing. Of course I dont have the foggiest idea what hes singing about because its in Hebrew. Who knew the phlegm language could actually sound harmonious when put to music.

  Hes not looking at me as hes singing. Odead and Snotty are singing along to the music, all very mellow now due to the mood of the night. Doo-Doo and Ofra are holding hands and are swaying to the sounds of the guitar.

  Snotty and Odead are sitting across from each other. Hes staring at her googly-eyed while hes singing. Shes oblivious.

  When the song is over, I say to Avi, "Thats a beautiful song. Did you write it?"

  I can still hear the hum of the last note as Avi responds, "Yes. "

  "Whats it about?" I ask.

  His expression grows serious. "A guy who loses an important person in his life. "

  I automatically assume its a girl and hate the wave of jealousy that comes over me. I dont respond. Silence fills the air. I think he hates me, but somehow Im getting this weird feeling theres some sort of pain behind his words.

  Thinking about what Ofra said, I cant help but wonder how I can figure out his true feelings for me. Not that I care what they are, but listen, an informed girl is a smart girl.

  All indications up until now tell me he resents my presence in Israel and he thinks Im spoiled (which Im not).

  Silence still hangs in the air. Its as if everyone is waiting for something to happen between me and Avi. Love or hate. Peace or war. I wont give them the satisfaction of knowing what Im feeling. Heck, I dont even know what Im feeling half the time or where my life is headed, thanks to my parents.

  Ive been trying to put out of my mind the fact that Mom wants to move to the suburbs. The next thing you know shell be wanting babies with this guy. I may just be a sixteen-year-old kid, but I do know one thing: I am not, I repeat, I am NOT changing dirty diapers.

  Just the thought of moving makes my stomach weak. Maybe Jessicas parents will let me move into their condo for junior and senior year. I could even pay them from the money Ron puts in the bank for me. Normally I wouldnt touch that money, but pride hasnt been a word in my vocabulary since coming to Israel. Why should anything be different when I go home?

  While Ive been daydreaming, I notice the rest of the group has started getting into their sleeping bags.

  Only I dont have one. I scan the area. Theres three guys and three girls now that Moron has left for his army service. I could sleep with Ofra, but she and Doo-Doo have found a spot off to the side and theyve zippered their sleeping bags together. I didnt even know they were a couple until tonight.

  Avi is putting his guitar back in its case. Theres no way Im going to ask Snotty if I can sleep with her, she was the person who manipulated me into coming on this little "survivor" vacation in the first place.

  Avi knows Im just standing here watching everyone. This sucks, because I want to make him squirm. Oh, great. Now hes walking up to me. Instead of waiting for him, a light bulb goes off in my brain.

  Now Ive got a plan. Okay, its not well thought out and it does require some manipulation, but I think it will have the desired consequence.

  I ignore Avi advancing on me and hurriedly crouch next to Odead.

  "Odead," I say really sweetly. I imagine Avi watching my every move. His eyes are like lasers on the back of my head.

  Odead finally looks in my direction. "Huh?"

  Now Im doing this really big yawn with the arm stretch and everything. It looks authentic, I think. And it definitely gets everyones attention, except Ofra and Doo-Doo. Theyre still making out and probably wont be coming up for air for a while.

  "Im really tired and I forgot to bring a sleeping bag," I say, making sure you-know-who hears. "Would you mind if I shared yours?"

  Odead right now looks like a mouse cornered by a cat. By the way, Im the cat. Meow! Odead looks from me to Avi.

  Im so tempted to look behind me to see Avis expression. Im also wondering what Snotty thinks; she seems to be oblivious to everything else around here.

  Before the poor guy can answer me, I say, "Thanks," and go back to the car where theres some privacy to change into my PJs.

  I have a huge grin on my face and I dont even know why. I know Avi was going to offer his sleeping bag to me, like hes playing the hero or something. Then he could have more ammunition that Im a spoiled American bitch whos ruining his vacation. Screw that. Im going to stay away from him as much as possible on this trip.

  Starting with sleeping with Odead.

  Of course Im not actually going to sleep with Odead. Just sleep with him. Although as I think about how small the sleeping bag is, Im probably not going to get much sleep tonight.

  I cant believe its getting so cold outside. Its so hot during the day I could fry an egg on a rock in seconds. But now, as I take my bra off underneath my T-shirt and hurriedly change into another shirt, Ive got goose bumps all over my body. Brr! I wish Id thought to bring sweats.

  I bind my hair in a high ponytail, brush my teeth with bottled water from the back of the truck, and trot quickly back to Odeads sleeping bag. Im rubbing my forearms with my hands to keep warm, but its no use.

  "Its so cold," I say to nobody in particular.

  Avis the only one in his sleeping bag. The rest have gone off to who knows where.

  I unzip the bag and examine the interior.

  "What are you doing?" Avi asks.

  "Checking for snakes," I say before making sure the bag is safe and start zippering it back up. "You know, you should do the same. I wouldnt want you to get bit or anything. "

  He sits up and regards me with those big, dark eyes. "I bet youd like it if I got bit. "

  "No. What Id like is if youd leave me alone. Youre eighteen. Dont you have to join the army or something?" I say as I settle into Odeads sleeping bag.

  I suddenly realize as I try to lay down Im sans pillow. That means without.
Avi throws his at me and it hits me in the face. I grimace, but take the soft thing as Avi turns around and lays down, his head resting on his bent arm. I should feel guilty about taking his pillow, but I dont.

  "In two months," he murmurs.

  I sit up. "What?"

  He doesnt answer. Instead, he says, "Lyla tov, Amy. "

  I dont know much Hebrew, but Ive been in Israel long enough to know lyla tov means "good night. " Hes trying to piss me off. I just know it.

  I unzip the sleeping bag and stand up. Then I walk over to Avi and crouch next to him. His eyes are closed. Faker.


  He opens one eye. "What?"

  I sigh loudly. "A second ago, you said two months. Whats in two months, besides me leaving this awful place thats as hot as hell in the day, but as frosty as the North Pole now. "

  He doesnt move, just says with eyes closed as if hes talking in his sleep, "I start basic training for the IDF in September. "

  "Whats the IDF?" I ask.

  "Israeli Defense Forces. "

  Basic training in the Israeli Defense Forces? I feel a little bit bad for Avi he has to go join the army whether he wants to or not.

  "Im sorry," I say.

  This time he opens both eyes. "For what? Im proud to be able to protect my people, my country. What do you do to protect yours?"

  What a bitter, bitter dude.

  "I do enough," I say. "If Israel didnt piss off all its neighbors then maybe--"

  He leans forward, his expression hard. "Dont you dare judge my country. Until youve walked in our shoes," he says, "you have no clue what its like to be Israeli. "

  Im trying not to be nervous, but the way hes talking makes me shake a little.

  "Yeah, well, dont judge my country either," I say back.

  I start to get up. He grabs my wrist and pulls me back down.

  "Thats the difference between us. I am my country. Youre just a product of yours. "

  Yanking my arm away I say, "Thats not the only difference, Avi. Im going to college and will be successful after high school. And you, youll probably just be a dumb Israeli sheep farmer the rest of your life. "

  Stomping back to Odeads sleeping bag, I feel better thinking about how now I really proved to him I am a bitch.

  I undo the sleeping bag once again to check for any fanged creatures who have decided to nest in the place Im going to sleep. Luckily, there are none so I zip the thing back up and shimmy inside.

  Looking back at Avi, I see his back is to me. Good.

  Unfortunately, just as Im getting comfortable Odead and the gang come back. Im trying to take up the least amount of space possible, but its no use. This bag wasnt made for two people.

  Odead kneels down and climbs into the bag with me. I give him a small smile. I dont want him to think Im not grateful hes agreed to share his warm sleeping bag with me. But I definitely dont want him to think Im coming on to him either.

  He might suspect Im going to rip his clothes off or something. As if. I havent even done more than kiss my own boyfriend. Im what you call a sexually slow girl. Because I know what they teach in sex ed is actually true. There are real-life consequences to having sex before marriage.

  Like AIDS.

  Like other sexually transmitted diseases that last a lifetime.

  Like an unwanted baby--like me!

  Theres no way in hell Im going to risk bringing a baby into this world without being married to the man I love. Unlike both of my parents. I mean, what were they thinking? Dont get me wrong, Im glad to be alive. But the crap Ive had to go through my whole life, including this trip and my moms brain fart by agreeing to marry Marc is ruining my life.

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