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Nostalgia: Teenage Summers
How attractive trouble felt. Glencoe beach was never as fun when it was open, even if it was free after five o’ clock. Although it was only a 15 minute drive, we seldom took the trip. However, July’s heat brought with it curiosity and mischief.
We were teenagers and we acted it. Most everyone was 17 or 18 but I was just shy of 16. I had never been a reckless kid but that summer was different. Throughout June and into July, my life had become a spiral. My grandmother died, my parents were getting separated, and my best friends were leaving for college in August. At the same time, despite my desperate effort to avoid love, I met a boy that I really liked.
I was determined to have the best summer of my life. It was one o’ clock in the morning and I was in my front yard with some friends: Stacy, Julianne, Justin, Steve, and Marty. Unfortunately, we ran out of things to do. That was of course until I suggested we go to the beach. Reluctance floated around for a moment but in the end the idea was approved. Three car loads and 20 minutes later, we found ourselves at the beach entrance, which was obviously closed off. Turn around and go home? Never. We parked in a dark neighborhood a short distance away.
We walked casually down the sidewalk until we got to the fence that blocked off the entrance. I was old enough to know that trespassing was wrong but I was young enough to not care. The girls hopped over first; the boys stayed behind to spot us. It wasn’t long before we were all on the other side. There was a downhill road that led to the sand; not even the dampness of the summer’s humidity could ruin this night. Finally, the beach was in our reach and there were endless possibilities. That was until we saw flashing lights on the street outside.
“Cops!” Steve screamed.
Everyone split. Justin, Stacy, and I took cover in some bushes and the others hid behind some gigantic rocks. My heart beat so fast and I feared that even the slightest breath would blow our cover. To my surprise, the lights were gone as quickly as they came. When everyone was sure that the cops were gone, we regrouped in the sand.
Next thing I knew I was knee deep in the cool Lake Michigan water. Despite the warmth, I shivered. Stacy and Julianne were next to me but everyone else was still on the sand. We swam further in the lake to get our whole bodies wet. Julianne bribed Marty to get in the water by offering him a kiss, he was easily convinced but the other boys remained on the sand.
“Get in the water!” I screamed.
Steve was already sitting atop the lifeguard’s chair and Justin was debating whether or not to get in the water.
Justin yelled, “I don’t have a bathing suit!”
“So wear your clothes!” I responded.
“I’m not swimming in my clothes!”
“Then take them off!”
Julianne chimed in, “Justin, if you get in the water then Gwen will kiss you!”
“What?” I was surprised.
Before I could object, Justin was ankle-deep in the water. He bravely jumped head first into the deep blue. When he came back up, I swam to him and splashed water in his face. In response, he splashed a much larger wave of water in mine.
“So do I get that kiss?” He asked me.
I knew that I had to kiss him. After all, what kind of friend would I be if I made Julianne look like a liar? I leapt across the water and used his broad shoulders to catch my balance. I closed my eyes, leaned in, and kissed his soft wet lips; this was the second kiss that we’d shared. It was short and very sweet.
We did a car-swap for the ride home and Justin and I ended up driving Marty’s Mustang convertible. We cruised away with the top down and the music blasting, despite the late hour. The night had been flawless and it felt like nothing could bring us down.
“What was that?” I asked, wiping something wet from my forehead.
Before Justin could answer I noticed a drop of water on his nose. I looked around me and realized that we were not the only ones getting wet. In fact, everything around us was wet too. It was raining.
“It’s raining! Where’s the button to put the top back up?” Justin panicked.
I wasn’t sure. I looked all around and Justin began pressing buttons. The windows rolled up and down and the trunk popped open but we couldn’t seem to find the button to get the top up. It was just our luck that our friends had taken a different route home and we did not have our cell phones! It was pouring hard and Justin thought that I was uncomfortable.
“You know what?” I nudged Justin as he continued feeling around the car for the button.
“Hmm?” He answered.
“Screw it,” I said. “Leave the top down. We’re already wet, what’s the difference?”
Justin relaxed and we both began to laugh hysterically. I leaned my head back and stuck my tongue out, catching the rain drops. What a perfect ending for an absolutely perfect night.