11 - Crying over spilled (soy) milk.

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Camden and I walked out of Greenies and into the sweltering heat. I was so acclimatised to the cool, air-conditioned temperature inside, I didn't even think of how awful it would be to sit in the late afternoon sun at the skate park, where there was very little shade to protect my already incredibly freckled skin from generating a fresh layer of tiny brown spots all over my face, arms, legs and any other inch of skin not covered by clothing.

We walked slowly down the hill to the skate park, mostly in silence. I could see a small group of older kids seated on the wooden tables and benches next to the concrete park, and assumed those people were the friends that Camden had mentioned were hanging out there already. I wondered why he didn't just come hang out with them seeing as they were already here and he was only up the road. Surely it would have been more entertaining than watching me make coffee repeatedly for the last hour. Even I sometimes got bored of doing that over and over.

I didn't know any of them, which wasn't surprising considering his friendship group consisted primarily of kids from his old school, his older brother and some of his friends. As we got closer it started dawning on me how much I don't really like talking and being around people I don't really know. As if reading my mind, Camden said, "They're really nice, but we don't have to hang with them if you don't want to. I'd like to say hi and introduce you though, if that's okay?"

"Yeah, that's fine," trying desperately to disguise how uneasy I was about walking into a group of random, unknown people. I could feel my heart racing, my breath quickening and my forehead and palms were growing sweatier by the second, only half due to the blazing sun scorching down on my skin.

When we got to the table, Camden was assailed with a series of hugs from everyone there, as was I bestowed similarly friendly greetings despite this being the very first time I had met them. They didn't seem surprised that I was with him. In fact, I actually felt as if they were expecting me.

There were six of them: four guys who I assumed were around nineteen or twenty years old, including his brother Parker who I'd never have guessed was related to him by his appearance alone, another guy our age who was reportedly Camden's best friend Landon, and his voluntarily-bald girlfriend Keely. She had apparently shaved it earlier that day just for something different, and it was so badass I wanted to go buy clippers myself and do the same. Too bad I have a fat head and could never pull it off.

They all took every opportunity to pull me into the conversation we interrupted when we got there, but I had no idea what they were talking about. From what I could gather, they were debating their favourite release of a band I had never heard of, which I made a mental note to check out when I got home.

Camden, sensing I was a little more at ease after a while, grabbed his skateboard and proceeded back to the park, effortlessly gliding over every surface there was. Nose slides down the rail, 50-50 grind on the coping, 360° down a four-stair near the table where the rest of us sat, and closing it all out with a late flip for good measure.

Of course, I had no idea these were the names of the tricks he landed and landed perfectly until his friends named each one while recording him on their phones. My skate knowledge up until now was minimal at best, picking up only brief snippets from Hunter when he was reading a new skate magazine he'd picked up for the Greenies bookshelf.

Not surprisingly, my jealousy of his unnatural abilities grew to new heights yet again. I had always wanted to learn how to skate, walking past the skate park every day on my way to and from school or work. But the only person I knew who did and could ask to teach me was Hunter, and he blew his knee out skating a year ago and has been reluctant to head back out since his surgery to repair his ACL. Being out of commission and owning your own business where you need to stand a majority of the day wasn't really conducive to making a living and keeping said business in operation. So I never asked, and I wasn't confident enough to just give it a go on my own.

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