What Happened That Summer

4 Jun

2007 was five years ago now. And that summer, the summer I was 16, remains the best I’ve ever had.

For the month of July 2007, I was excited to wake up every morning, to see what that new day might bring. If I picture that summer in my mind, I see a montage of sunny days, singing, teasing, playing, dancing and joy.

I was thinking today about the huge variety of experiences I’ve already been lucky to have in my life, and thinking about summer vacation and what it means. Summer vacation, for me, was often just killing time until I got back to school, where I could see my friends. Until ’07. If I had a time machine, and could only go back to a time in my own life, I would pick the summer before junior year of high school.

That summer, I played Frenchy in a teen production of Grease at the community theatre near my house.

Every day at 8:30, I got on my bike (I may have been 16, but I didn’t have my license yet) and rode it for twenty minutes to be at rehearsal by nine. I often entertained myself on the way over by singing songs from the show. Sometimes my castmates called me “bike girl,” or sang songs like Bicycle when it was time to leave.

I spent the rest of the day rehearsing: singing and dancing and running lines in a dusty old warehouse. But of course, with 33 11-18 year olds who mostly enjoy each other’s company, time offstage was way more fun than on.

We held a wedding in the lobby. We sang in public. We watched old movies and played stupid games. We ate a lot of Mexican food.

Basically, we bonded fast. A lot of us already knew each other, and the ones who didn’t folded into the group quickly. We spent our lunch breaks wandering around town unsupervised, being that group of annoying teenagers I didn’t get to be at any other point in my high school experience. There, I was one of the cool kids – quite the novelty for me.

We spent our evenings together too. Movies, the mall, dinner, sleepovers – we were obsessed with each other. Of course we had our drama – who had a crush on who, who hated who, who “didn’t deserve” the part they got. But in the end, if I had one word to describe those people and that summer, it would be love.

We had packed houses for all four of our shows in early August, then it was over. We’ve never been all together again, and slowly the promises of a reunion faded away. Eventually we drifted apart. I still love every single one of them, but I don’t talk to any of them regularly anymore.

I would have done that camp again the next summer, but it was cancelled. Maybe for the best. There’s no way it could have lived up to my expectations. This way, I’ve always got that strangely total perfection of summer ’07, that summer something magic happened and we all found the place where we belonged, if only for a little while.

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4 Responses to “What Happened That Summer”

  1. ianmulligan08 August 3, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Great to read about this as you have often mentioned it to me.

  2. Morgan June 5, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    So much nostalgia 🙂 I LOVE this.

  3. Brenna June 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    This was very real, wasn’t it?

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