Pictured: Sarah and I on Brighton pier, carefree and full of beer xo
I have lived through a lot of summers. I have suffered through holidays with my family, and I’ve laughed through summers with my friends. They always seem so distant and unattainable, and at the beginning so long. Six weeks. Or more, if you’re lucky. You spend your days and your mornings wanting your long summer, and then when it’s there – it’s gone. It speeds by in an instant. I thought it’d change as I got older, but it doesn’t. The summers when I was younger were more precious, shorter. They were golden. There were the summers that I played out every day, that I went to Wales and spent two weeks straight on the beach or in a cafe. Then I got older, and my summers were spent in a drunk haze by the river. Watching the sun go down and then sometimes, up again. Next came the last summer before University, when it felt like this was the last time I’d see my friends again. We didn’t do much, we drank a little. We sat around a table and played brass instruments. We went clubbing for the first time, and didn’t hate it. We spent a good few nights in Mosh and then watching the sun come up as we ate our greasy takeaways and stumbled all over. Then, inevitably, I got even older. So old that I spent my summers working hard or training for something – for life. I spent a few summers writing and sleeping and wanting to lose weight or write my grand novel all before I got back to school. Until the understanding sank in that if I wasn’t motivated for 10 months of the year, why now? But that’s what comes with summer, a hope that you’ll get whatever you want.
I did have a few plans this summer. I did want to write my book and get a job again and spend a few nights in a tent drinking like I was 16 again. But I’m 20. And I can go wherever I want. This has been, on all accounts, a good summer. Summer for me now means a time when all of my friends are together again, when we are home in one go. I did a lot and I lost a lot, I cried a little but I laughed much more. This is to be my last summer in Leicester, and it’s coming to an end. But there’s the part of me that thinks – if my friends and I lasted through all these summers and all these years apart, why not next year? So I tried to have it all. I got a few projects done, made a little money. I wasn’t working but I’ve been doing odd jobs and making it by. I went to Florida, London, Brighton, Devon, Birmingham. I saw Disney World and I lost a friend. I spent time in the water for the first time in years, and I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I feel like I travelled the entire county in the passenger seat of Sarah’s car, drinking ribena and listening to her boy troubles. I saw another country and I went to the far reaches of my own, I kept myself busy for two weeks and then I slowed down for another one. I spent three days with my best friends in an apartment in Brighton, and it was incredible. The memories that feel most like something that can only happen in summer are the ones where we drove and we would choose a park and just sit outside. Not freezing, not too dark, not even drunk. Just sober and warm enough. I spent a lot of time with Sarah and it will continue into the academic year.
But it isn’t the same, is it? Summer’s end feels like the end of youth and of being carefree and of not having to worry about a coat. You can’t drive without spending an hour defrosting your windows. You can’t see your friends without a train. Summer’s end always makes me painfully and grossly sentimental, but I guess that’s normal xo