My summer didn't begin in the usual way. It didn't begin with the final day of my senior year, one chapter ending while another is just starting. It didn't begin with my birthday, my first real day as a grown up according to the law. It didn't begin with college orientation, or the drive home from which when it sunk in- in the fall, I would be going it alone at Miami of Ohio.
No. For me, summer began at 4 am when I rolled out of bed and hopped onto a California-bound plane. Summer was wandering around Hollywood, stars in my eyes, gasping about how everything was so expensive from the food to the tacky tee shirts to the Beverly Hills mansions. Summer was standing in line in Anaheim, toddlers whining around me, the smell of sunscreen pungent in the air. Summer was trading snarky banter with my sister as we sat for endless periods in the back of a rental car while my parents struggled to navigate the California traffic. Summer was soft serve at a San Diego Padres game and watching fireworks from my hotel window as I fought jet lag to see the finale. Summer was sand in my bathing suit and waves that crashed over my head, soaking me to the bone. Summer was riptides and beach towels, the dampness shoved back into the suitcase.Summer was the night flight back to Indiana, the struggle to fall asleep without leaning my head on my neighbor.
Summer was the two weeks at church camp. The first one hating myself, the second one loving everyone. Summer was small group sessions and calls to action, singing songs in a hot auditorium crammed in with a thousand other teens. Summer was eating watermelon in front of the temple and endless games of dodge ball on the plaza. Summer was sleeping in a dorm without air conditioning, the fan pointing at my face and blowing mercilessly. Summer was the games of volleyball played in the hot, sweaty gym, and the Quiz Bowl matches played in the air conditioning. Summer was the strum of guitars and the thump of drums, and the uneven patter of dancing feet.
Summer is the wait time between high school and college, an endurance trial filled with endless distractions and shopping bags. Summer is getting manicures with my friends and eating overpriced sushi and hot wings. Summer is bug spray and bonfires, and all the goodbyes that linger above my head. Summer is the tether between kid and adult, the final hurdle to independence. Summer is the last few days before I drive off for a few months and begin my life anew, the crushing anxiety and excitement and the butterflies in my stomach.
Summer is the seconds that tick away one by one.
Summer is almost done.