It was the summer after ninth grade, and I was hopelessly in like with a skater boy named Tony. He had the cutest crooked teeth and wore the most torn-up jeans and he asked me out in class at 11:11 via handwritten note two weeks before school got out. I said yes, and after that we would push our desks really close together in class. I spent first month of summer making out with Tony every afternoon. I feel like everything happened during our makeouts.
That was the summer that all of the celebs died. We found out Michael Jackson died between Tony trying to figure out how to take my bra off and me not knowing what to do with my hands.
When Fourth of July came around, Tony was kind of ignoring me and I didn’t feel like anyone really wanted to be my friend.
I felt really weird, so I went home by myself and stayed up all night for the first time in my life and lay on the grass and watched the sun rise.
Then there was a period where Tony was afraid to break up with me, and I was afraid that he would break up with me.
Whenever we would text I’d ask him when I could see him again, and he would always say, “I don’t know.”
I went away to summer camp for a week and really hoped he would write to me—he never did. Camp is supposed to be the best time of the summer, but I couldn’t really enjoy myself. I felt sad, and just so distant from myself. Camp wasn’t as special as it was when I was a little kid. It had, like, lost its magic. I felt old.
We made dream boats and ate dream cake and I always made the wish that the candle would somehow make him like me again.
A week later I was babysitting for my neighbors and I texted Tony saying, “Tony, do you still like me?” I waited 15 torturous minutes and then he said, “Sorry but I don’t really know.” He proceeded to break up with me over text. I’d been dumped by a boy before (a few months earlier, in fact), but this was different. I felt like I was drowning. (This is very dramatic, but everything feels like the end of the world when you’re 15.)
There was this other boy who had liked me for a long time but I never liked him back in the same way. He invited me to the beach and I was sad and mopey and wanted to do something with myself, so I went.
His dad drove us.
My best friend Lillie sort of brought me back to life at this time, but I still missed Tony.
Mostly, I missed making out with Tony.
My friend Liam and I went to the lake with our families. We went out in our inner tubes at night to look at the stars.
Those were really magical nights.
At the end of the summer I went to see my favorite band, and it was like one of the first times where I had so much fun with so many people. We were all dancing together as one big group. I’d never really experienced that before.
The summer ended on a weird and melancholy note, like it always does when you’re in high school. I kept going over everything that had happened in my head while I rode my bike around our neighborhood. I still think about it a lot. Kind of longing for the feeling of longing, almost. ♦