Sum Summer

June 4, 2012
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It was the end of my sophomore year in high school. Just like the other kids, I had big plans for the summer and new adventures awaiting me. I had filled my mind with “This is my summer”, “This is my year”, “I’m going to work hard this summer”, “Nobody’s going to be able to tell me anything”, and “This will be the best summer ever!”. I had met a boy about 6’1”, dark skinned, with a short haircut. My only desire was to get to know him more and hopefully build a close friendship over the summer. I wanted one of those unlabeled, unofficial summer romances. It turned out to be just that. We texted our struggles, we talked music, we skyped our personalities: ubersocial right? Then came my lard grandmother and her loud mouth yapping about how I needed to get out of the city. Before school was out, I was trained down to Texas to visit my country cousins and to attend a wedding. It was the absolute worst 28 hours of my life! I was seated in one of the most uncomfortable seats with absolutely nothing to do. We traveled through no man’s land, deserts, over great lakes, and through wild forests just to get there. I received service minutes at a time within this 28 hour trip and I only had five songs on my iPhone because I had just bought it like a day before the trip. For 85% of the trip, I listened to those five songs over and over again. There was five minutes for each song and each song significantly related to the other. What is this significant topic? Love of course. Five, five-minute, love songs ruining my emotions and my thoughts. I ate some of the soggy turkey sandwiches that my grandmother hate made. Intensively and unconsciously chewing, I was anxious to get off that train. I looked over to my grandmother’s slobbered mouth surrounded by Dalmatian chin hairs and I tapped her on the shoulder. “How much longer?” I asked. Half sleep, she looked at her watch and then looked at me. “20hrs”. I got out of my seat and went to sit in the sight-seer lounge car. It was about 1AM. I looked out the oversized windows and at my phone as if I was wasting time. I started to force thoughts in and out of my head. Every time I looked at the empty seat next to me, I saw him. In the window, I gazed at my reflection and I saw weakness, unhappiness, and ugliness. Epiphanies later, I had built up the most courage to work even harder. Harder at what was the question. I took out a pen and a leather travel journal I had found under my seat. I started to sketch out some things that I like to do; things that I was interested in, things that I could get paid for, things that I could be the best at. The three things that stood out the most to me were interior design, photography, and music. Right then and there, I felt like I had given up. I looked back at my reflection and back at the empty seat. I had no idea where to start or exactly what I wanted to do. Without the guidance that I was yearning for at that moment, I plugged the headphones back into my indulged ears and I cried. Because yes, this was a long trip, and yes I had felt lost, and yes I had felt alone, and yes I was sleepy, but from that day on, I realized that It was going to be a long summer. I realized that I was more content with my wishful thoughts than I was with reality. I realized that it was probably too late for me to get a job, and I realized 28 hours later; it was going to be a long summer.

The train ride was symbolic to the time I had been wasting and the undefined destination that I was traveling to. Those oversized windows only showed evergreen trees and my reflection, demanding that I see the bigger picture.

That summer was just as cheap as the train ticket. It summed up to be zero income, one broken heart, two lost souls, three devised friendships, and millions of repetitive, misguided thoughts. Sum Summer.





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