“Camp of No Return” — James Tate

I sat in the old tree swing without swinging. My loafer
had fallen off and I left it on the ground. My sister came
running out of the house to tell me something. She said, “I’m
going to camp tomorrow.” I said, “I don’t believe you,” She
said, “I am. It’s a fact. Mother told me.” We didn’t speak
for the rest of the day. I was mad at her for getting to do
something I didn’t. At dinner I asked mother what kind of
camp it was. She said, “Oh, just a camp like any other.”
I didn’t really know what that meant. The next day they got
her ready to go, and then they drove off, leaving me with the
neighbors. When they got back everything was normal,
except I missed Maisie. And I missed her more each
following day. I didn’t know how much she had meant to me
before. I asked my parents over and over how much longer
it would be. All they said was soon. I told some kids at
school how long my sister had been gone. One of them
said, “She’ll never be back. That’s the death camp.”
When I got home I told my parents what that boy had said.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” my father said.
But after a couple of more weeks of her absence I began to
wonder. That’s when they began to clean out Maisie’s room.
I said, “What are you doing?” You said Maise will be back
soon.” My mother said, “Maisie’s not coming back. She
likes it there better than she does here.” “That’s not true. I
don’t believe you,” I said. My father gave me a look that let
me know I might be next if I didn’t mend my ways. I never
said a word about Maisie again.

“Camp of No Return” — James Tate

#infiniteanthology day238

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