i was driving home tonight in the darkest of dark, listening to the decemberists. there are certain musicians or songs i will always ascribe to a certain event or era, and the decemberists always take me directly back to the summer after my senior year of high school. the tribe, as we called ourselves, had been whittled down to five, which we called the beats. we smoked cigars on darkened streets and knew everything.
i don't know if i would idealize that summer as much as i do if it hadn't ended so dramatically and irrevocably. but at the beginning, the summer seemed like it would go on forever. for the first time i was confident in myself and questioning things i had always assumed. i had a group of friends whose loyalty seemed unshakeable.
when i think of that summer, i think of driving home in the rain, and emily-and-colin, and emily-and-kid, and me-and-colin. i think of smoky bonfires and jesus h. christ summer camp and swimming in my underwear at night. i think of experimentation and mild exhibitionism and the cabana of womanhood.
i know, of course, that it wasn't as perfect as i remember; that if i had been allowed to end the summer with school instead of such deep and moving sadness i would remember things differently. but the future that i had spread before me was taken away before i had time to wish it goodbye, and i'm afraid i will always believe in its unquestionable brightness.