Empowerment. Engagement. Authenticity.

A Duo's Dynamics - Camp Counsellor Connection

I had no doubt he could flip the round table for six, the way his hands clamped around its edges, rattling dinnerware and cutlery. The waitress tapped her pen against her order pad and alternated between refusing his request and demanding he calm down. His fellow teen campers scattered to other seats.

"Dave. Dave, regarde-moi. Look at me." Something told me not to touch him. Not yet. I spoke in his first language, French, and stood close enough beside him so he could feel my presence. "Dave." He swung in my direction, hands waving. I squatted. "It's Kristy. I'm here. Tell me what's wrong."

"Kristy?" His unblinking blue eyes stared at me through his spectacles. "She – she won't give me a Coke. I want a Coke. Tell her. Tell her I want a Coke, Kristy." His words tumbled over each other, testing my Anglophone knowledge of Quebecois French.

" I've already informed him," the waitress said with enunciated slowness, "that we only serve Pepsi."

Ignoring her, I took Dave's hands in mine, squeezing lightly to ease his tremors. "Ecoute-moi," I murmured, keeping my eyes locked on his. "You listening?" He nodded. I explained his beverage choice. "Pepsi, c'est bon, non? You like Pepsi, don't you?"

"No Coke?"

"No Coke here. Only Pepsi. Okay?" I cut a look at the waitress when she muttered under her breath.

"Pepsi okay." Then Dave's voice rose again. This time his words came out in choppy English. "She tell me give me ginger ale. No like. No ginger ale."

"Hey, look at me," I increased my grip on his hands when his head spun toward the waitress. I stayed in French. " Pepsi. No ginger ale."

"Pepsi. Good." His mouth relaxed into a smile.

"Well done," a brisk, British voice said behind me. "David's teachers neglected to advise us of his…behavioral issues."

I straightened and turned to where Alex, my manager, sat with the senior staff some feet away. He cut off a chunk of the steak on his plate and put it into his mouth, chasing it down with a gulp of beer. My own appetite had deserted me.

"Stop grinning," I grumbled to Brogan, my crush of two weeks, when I returned to our corner table. "At least when they interviewed you, they made it clear you would only deal with the camp website."

"I'll leave the camp counselling to you." Brogan toasted me with his Black Russian. "Let's see…there's the techno-shocked Amish girl, the schizoid Francophone and, oh yeah, the girl wondering if sex will always hurt as much as it did when that seven-foot Newfie took her virginity last night."


(c) Kristy Kassie, 2017


A Duo's Dynamics

The interaction between two characters during a crisis builds tension in a story.

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