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Watermelon Seeds & Bumblebee Stings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Sometimes it is as if that summer never happened. Nothinghas changed, yet it seems everything has changed.

The first signs ofsummer are still the same. You are sitting outside in the warm evening hours andyour eye catches a glimpse of a sharp, brief sparkle against that same velvetbackdrop you have been staring at your whole life but, finally, it isn't a star.The same summers when all the neighborhood kids get together for the first timesince that major snowball fight back in January to chase down Mr. Frosty and hisice-cream truck rolling down the hill, selling snowcones for 65 cents. The 65cents we earned back in April by waiting patiently on the side of the road,selling ice-cold lemonade for a measly 15 cents a cup. Looking back on it now, wehad more money than anyone in the world. The nickels burned in our pockets whilethe quarters sat in our piggy banks, slowly growing into dollars.

Thosesummers. Those summers when popsicles melted quicker than promises, and Red Roverlines were stronger than hearts. Those summers are still the same, I guess. Now,I just look at them differently.

It's the little things I miss, likethrowing on a pair of shorts when the thermometer hanging on the oak tree finallyreads 75 for the first time, and not worrying about shaving your legs. Slippinginto a cute bikini before boobs (or no boobs) became an issue, and shyly tellingJason, your best friend since you moved onto that quiet street all those yearsago, that you can't go swimming with him down at the frog pond because you"don't feel good," and when he asks what hurts, you flush withembarrassment and mutter something, because you can't describe this kind of hurtto a boy. He doesn't know because he's a boy, and boys just don'tunderstand.

Fireworks were mysterious colors flashing before your eyes upin the sky you hoped one day you would reach, and if not reach, grab a star ortwo, only to discover the only mysterious thing happening here was how your UncleCarl didn't cuss and scream obscenities in front of everyone when a bottle rocketbackfired and bolted into his toe. The magic disappears somehow, and realityhappens. It just happens, that's all. Just like when you realized dandelions arejust unwanted weeds, and blown bubbles pop, though watching them float to a placetoo far to see, yet only a few feet from your imagination, it seemed as if theycould go on forever.

Sometimes it is just better if you never learn, butwe all do. It's called adolescence, a word no child can fully grasp. A word noadult wants to comprehend. Sooner or later, the only part of summer you anxiouslyawait is getting out of school so you can forget about the Spanish teacher whothreatened to call your mom if you fell asleep in his class one more time, or soyou won't have to face the cheerleader who tried, successfully, to steal yourboyfriend because her hair color was more fake than her personality and her headwas only slightly bigger than her "pom-poms." Sure, no more homework,which is a relief, but now your biggest worries aren't swallowing watermelonseeds or getting bumblebee stings. They are much more complicated. Morecomplicated than those hopscotch games written in pink chalk on your forgottenside street and, yes, even more mind-boggling than untangling the kite after itcrashed into a tree. Now, it's just different. Popsicles melt quicker and RedRover lines somehow aren't as solid as they used to be. But don't ask me why; Idon't have an answer.

We were the ones asking "Why?" Why is thegrass green? Why aren't boy ladybugs called gentlemenbugs? Why do flowers sleepthrough winter? Why do I have to go to bed now? Why? Why? Why? Now the answerisn't as easy as "Because I said so." The answer was inscribed in theclouds, yet now when I look up I only see the clouds. The answer was swirled inour lollipops, but now they are just lollipops. The answer was engraved in theoak tree beside "E.G. & T.K. Best Friends 4-Ever," but now all Isee is a tree. It is just a tree, and the letters just letters, not answers. Now,we must quit asking why, quit wondering why things happened and just accept them.My summer is over, but that's okay. Autumn, I have heard, is quite nice, too.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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