As I Am

As I Am by AnnaLisa Grant

Book: As I Am by AnnaLisa Grant Read Free Book Online
Authors: AnnaLisa Grant
toward the dining hall looking for clusters of kids who are getting acquainted. I figure I should get some pictures of them all happy with each other before someone does something to piss somebody off and alliances form.
    Just like last year, Mr. and Mrs. Fellows are mingling with the kids as they arrive and begin to get settled. They always take time to get to know the kids and make them feel more at home. They already know the scholarship kids fairly well. Being on scholarship to the camp isn’t just about your financial need. They interview each applicant to see if they’re a good fit for the camp. Those campers should feel extra special since they’re pretty much hand-picked.
    I circle back around to the girls’ side of the camp. So far, so good. We’re a couple of hours in and everyone still thinks that the girl their standing next to is going to be a bridesmaid in their wedding fifteen years from now. I take a few more pictures before I notice Margaret sitting on a bench near her cabin. The girls who were so nice to her before are clustered together just a few yards away.
    “Hey,” I say as I approach her. “Why aren’t you hanging with your roommates?”
    “They think I’m weird,” she tells me.
    “You’re so totally not weird. What makes you think they think you’re weird?”
    “I heard one of the girls telling another girl.”
    “I can’t imagine what could have happened to make them think that,” I say.
    “I … I have this thing … with words. I told them about one,” she says quietly, looking down and away from me like she embarrassed.
    “I like words,” I say, tilting my head down as I try to catch her eye. “What did you tell them?” I ask, hoping it’s not something like the Greek word for one who kills others in their sleep .
    “Well, one of the girls was saying how excited she was for all the fun we’re going to have. She’s especially looking forward to the rock climbing wall because apparently there was some super-hot guy holding the ropes last year. I just told them that the Germans have a word for that feeling: vorfeude . It’s the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures. They looked at me like I had two heads and then I got flustered and spat out the next word that came to mind: nyctohylophobia . It’s the fear of dark woods or forests at night.”
    Oh, she is kind of weird, but in a geeky, bookish way. I like it.
    “Are you afraid of the woods at night?” I ask. This is something we should know so that she can either be exempt from the camper marshmallow roast, or so that someone can be with her so she’s not scared.
    “Yes.” Her answer comes quickly and I wonder why on earth she would want to come to a summer camp in the woods?
    Margaret puts her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands and I look over at the clique of girls she’s talking about. They all seemed so nice before, but now all I can see are mini-Addisons through these new lenses I’m seeing life through.
    “ Well, we’ll make sure your cabin counselor knows that. You’ll be fine. And it sounds like you know a lot of stuff. I mean, I don’t know any German words, unless you count Darth Vadar, since vadar means father in German, and I only know that because I heard it in a movie,” I chuckle, which makes Margaret break into a slight smile. “I’m guessing you have a word for everything.”
    “That’s because there is a word for everything,” she says brightly. Words are clearly this girl’s thing. It’s one thing to be a smart girl. It’s another hard thing to be an awkwardly smart girl. “Well maybe you can teach me a few new words this summer. I like learning new things. What do you think?”
    “That’d be cool .” She smiles.
    “C’mon. I’m in charge of all the pictures around here and I’m going to get a few of you and your roomies, ok ay?”
    Margaret reluctantly stands and walks over to the group of seven girls with me. I address the girls

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