As graduation comes near, I have filled nearly every block in my schedule with events. I’ve needed to purchase more clothes to accommodate the frequency at which I will need to dress up.
With back-to-back formal events, it feels as though we are making up for a year of lost time. Due to quarantine, I have not worn formal attire in almost two years. This schedule is typical for end-of-year seniors, though I often find myself opening my planner a bit too often out of excitement.
Having a filled calendar gives me something to look forward to each day or week. Even if it’s just a final exam, that day has something written on it. My school planner is running out of pages, and the schedule has grown so long that I may need to purchase next school year’s calendar early.
With all of these plans, I hope that the blank days following graduation will not feel empty. I have plans for the summer as well as college to attend, though, while I look forward to the break, I plan to enjoy every day of this busy May.
I never thought those numbers could ever mean so much to me. I have five weeks, twenty-five weekdays, and thirty-two days left of my senior year. I will be free once those are all zero.
I will officially be done with school. I will be a college girl. I still can’t believe I am almost done with the four years I dreaded the most my whole life. The four years I wanted to be done are almost that: done.
I am a very different person from who I imagined myself to be and I know I am not done growing and figuring myself out, but I love who I’ve become and don’t want to change anything. I almost wish I could pause these last few weeks and live in them for a little while longer.
I can’t wait to get away from here. To start my life with no boundaries. These weeks are something that can’t go by fast enough.
I wish these weeks would pass by in the blink of an eye, but I wish I could look back on them and remember everything I am feeling now.
I can’t wait for this summer. You know, in the past, people have always told me that junior year is gonna be harder than all the other years. But I had no idea that they were actually right about that!
I’m mentally and now even physically so exhausted that I don’t want to do anything but sleep. But guess what! I can’t!
That’s why I can’t wait for summer. I can actually sleep then. I won’t have anything to do but read, ride horses, go for runs with my dog, probably study for the SAT, go to my summer journalism program, and travel. I’m so excited to travel!
In the US everything seems to be so far apart. If you go on a two hour train ride here, you get to another city in the state. But if I go on a two hour train ride from my hometown, I end up in another country. I can’t wait to go to Paris, to Amsterdam, Berlin, to Greece.
I also really can’t wait to ride my horse again. I am so glad that I get to ride at my school here, I am so thankful for that, but it’s so different from my barn at home. I can go there whenever I want, I can stay there as long as I want, go on trail rides through the fields and forests, and I can actually get lessons. So, obviously, I can’t wait.
Of course I’ll miss all my friends here, as always. I’ll miss the amazing weather in California, and the amazing avocados and oranges, that simply don’t taste the same in Germany. But I can’t even tell you just how excited I am for this summer!
As each day gets closer and closer to June 1, and the months pass, my heart yearns for summer to finally happen.
Today was the first sunny day in California for weeks, and as I lied by the pool with the sun beaming in the sky and minimal clouds in the distance, I imagined myself at the beach in front of my house, with my sunglasses on and the crashing waves against the sandy shores.
Now, as I accept the fact that I will keep having to imagine my summer days until they actually happen, I will live these daydreams through the stories I write and the dreams that come to me in my sleep.
I can’t write about every single thing I’m excited for about summer 2018, but here are a few:
The concerts. I’m always excited about concerts, but I feel like the shows I go to this year will be exceptionally memorable. I will see G-Eazy for a second time. The show will be in an outside amphitheater, and I will be at the barricade with the hundreds of people who showed up. The stars will be bright, but the streams of neon light beaming from the stage will be even brighter. Then there will be the Warped Tour dates. The days I wake up early and return home late, my body covered head to toe in sweat and dust, my voice will ache along with my legs. Yet as I fall asleep, replaying the memory of All Time Low singing on main stage with the sunset across the horizon peeking over the back of the stage, my mind will fill with memories and my heart full of happiness.
The beach. Considering I have family both in Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach, I don’t actually spend time on the beach nearly enough. However, this time I hope that changes. I can’t wait to walk down the steps from my house to the beach, lie down my beach blanket and read my favorite book in the sun all day every day. Maybe I’ll go into the water if the waves aren’t harsh, or maybe I’ll get an acai bowl. At the end of the day, I’d head back up to my house with sun kissed skin and beach blonde waves. I’ll wash the sea salt water off my sandy skin, and I’ll curl up under the covers with popcorn, a scary movie, and my dog beside the bed, and I’ll know in that moment that life couldn’t get any better than that.
Lastly, I can’t wait for the freedom. I can’t wait to not have to follow a strict schedule from school, or have my adventures be limited to a mountain in the middle of Ojai. I’ll be free to wake up however early or however late I want. I can watch the sunrise from my balcony, and the sunset from a hammock. I can go take the trolley down to Banzai Bowls and get my favorite acai bowl. I can go to Disneyland or go to the gym. I can take trains up to LA to visit my friends, or travel to different beaches to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. The possibilities are overwhelmingly endless.
June is a long time away. I should be focusing on APs and English essays, but summer please come sooner. I’m waiting for you.
June 22, 2014 still remains a clear memory in the back of my head.
It was my first time ever going to Vans Warped Tour, and for being a middle schooler obsessed with Mayday Parade and All Time Low, it was a dream come true for my emo self.
Something about Warped Tour is just more magical than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’ve been to too many concerts to count on my fingers and toes, but which concert is one of my favorites? Definitely Warped Tour.
Warped Tour was beautiful in every sense of the word. So many different people were there. Girls with colorful neon hair, and boys with stretched ears and tattoos over their arms and backs. There were little kids on their parents shoulders, screaming the lyrics to every heavy metal song that played. Worries never existed at Warped Tour. Everyone was happy, and that happiness was contagious.
The crowds were huge and endless. Everyone constantly pushed to the front, crowd surfers were above my head every few minutes, and band members were jumping into the crowds encouraging everyone to let loose. There were no rules at Warped Tour. Everyone was accepted there, and it was accepted for everyone to go crazy.
The cross-country music festival has been going on for over twenty years. Bands like My Chemical Romance, All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, and so many more started there before they were even famous. It hasn’t just been a place that has made my dreams come true, but it has jump-started the careers of so many bands that I love more than anything in my life.
When I first went to Warped Tour in 2014, I remember waiting in line to go in, and I ended up seeing the drummer of one of my favorite bands walking through the lines selling cds. When I walked inside, I ran straight to the main stage when I heard “Check Yes, Juliet” playing by We The Kings. Shortly after, I found the singer of We The Kings signing autographs and giving hugs to people for free. I saw over ten bands that day, including Linkin Park, a band who just decided to show up for that day and perform a set. They only performed one Warped Tour show ever in the history of the tour, and I was there to experience it.
Then I went to Warped Tour again in 2015 with my best friend. It was over 100 degrees that day, and I almost passed out in a mosh pit from dehydration. I stumbled out of an Attila crowd covered in dirt head to toe, and I went through three water bottles before I regained enough energy to jump straight into another crowd for another band.
No matter the location, Warped Tour was where anything could happen. I was in the crowd for Black Veil Brides when I got a text from my friend telling me she met four different band members just walking around. That only happens at Warped Tour, because the bands who go there have such a strong connection with their fans that they just walk around the festival they’re performing at. There’s no overwhelming paparazzi, or security guards following the members around, and there’s no one making the band members uncomfortable.
That’s what made the music festival so special for me. There was a connection between everyone there. There was a connection between the bands and the fans, and connections between strangers. Even if you didn’t know the person, if you sang with them at one set, the connection was there. In 2014, I left my sister to head into the crowd for Falling In Reverse. There I met a guy who I rapped along with to “Bad Girls Club” and “I’m Not A Vampire,” and I knew every word to those songs too, and I still do. But we were there, complete strangers horribly belting out the lyrics to two amazing songs, and I still smile at the memory years later. The connection was the music all these strangers had gone there to see.
Warped Tour has always been a second home for me, and I always hoped that I’d still be attending the festival when I was forty, or that I’d be going to the festival with my college friends. Sadly, 2018 is the last full cross-country run of Warped Tour ever.
When I found that out I was heartbroken. I had only gone to the festival twice, but they were some of the best experiences of my life, and I regret missing the last two years. After this year, there’ll be no more Warped Tour. No more memories to create, but the ones I made I could never forget.
However, I’m going to go to all the Southern California dates. I will run as fast as I can in the circle pits, I will hug all the band members I can, and I will sing my heart out while the sun sets over the horizon behind the stages. I will crowd surf to the front, and I will probably fall several times attempting it, but it’ll be worth it one last time.
Summer can’t come soon enough, but once it does, and once I step into the fairgrounds where Warped Tour is, I’ll never want to leave. I’ll never want it to end.
When we were kids, we spent the entire summer in the pool.
We would bounce around in the water for hours on end, using our feet to push off the sides so many times that we would get blisters on our toes. By the time we got out, pruned and sunburnt, our feet would be bleeding from scraping them on the concrete so much. But we didn’t care. Mom called it pool toe.
I remember how we used to eat breakfast as fast as we could, and then we would play rock-paper-scissors to see who got to jump in first. We swam from morning until night, only pausing for a lunch break of watermelon and pretzels.
Your hands always shriveled up faster than mine did. You used to tell me it meant we were turning into fish, and I was convinced it was true. You also swam faster than I did, but sometimes, if I was lucky, you’d let me win some of our races.
Whenever there was a breeze it would get too cold in the water. To warm up we’d haul ourselves out of the pool and lay with our stomachs down on the concrete deck, like lizards on rocks.
I remember my tangled, sun bleached hair, and the smell of the special shampoo Mom made me use that prevented it from turning green from the chlorine. I remember family commenting on how bloodshot my eyes were, but I wasn’t bothered. I didn’t mind if my eyes were a little bit red and sore, so long as I could avoid the inconvenience of strapping on goggles.
We had changing lights for when we swam at night. I would stand on the diving board, staring down into the water below. The green water meant there were alligators lurking; so I obviously couldn’t jump in, for danger of being eaten. Blue meant sharks, so once again there were some risks. But when the water was pink, it was clear of all man-eating creatures, so it meant I was free to dive in.
When we were kids, we thought days like those would last forever.
I miss it. When we didn’t care if our fingers were shriveled up like prunes, or if our noses were bright red and peeling, or if we had pool toe.
It was oppressively hot, but it was worse inside. The idea for the party had been born earlier that month, straight out of the heatwave, full of desperate loneliness and braised, salted wounds. He had thought that the heat had been bad when the party was thought up but it had gotten worse, the end of summer was supposed to bring promise of a cool refreshing fall, but instead the dog days were holding on.
Partygoers were wilting like flowers, falling and rising in dance on a phantom wind born and nursed by too-expensive-booze, and sweat dampened morals, the peace was tenuous. It was just too hot for a party, even the breeze was like licks of fire on his cheeks.
The rail of the balcony scorched his forearms, but it was better than dancing in the heat. He dropped his head back and looked for stars he would not find, but before the search even truly began the click of heels sounded behind him, the echoes of a last ditch S.O.S in consistent and aggressive morse code.
He did not look, she came up to the railing next to him. He still did not look at her, but in his peripheral he could see she was reasonably tall, dressed in unseasonal black, sleek. She inclined her head and stared out into the darkened hedge maze below them, all shadow. He could sense her grace rather than see it, there was something indescribably elegant in her presence, but she was incredibly still. She was pensive in a way that only people dressed in finery and malcontent can be.
She looked on as a couple stumbling their way through the doors below them, tipsy, glittering and very much in love made their way into the maze. Both were dressed in crisp autumn colors, one a in deep burgundy gown that splayed behind her like a trail of fire and the other in a warm burnt orange that fell like water.
Two leaves dancing in the too warm night, lost to the world and unregistering of the weather outside of their perfect dichotomy.
She glanced sideways up at him through the leaden air, her sharp, slanted eyes caught him off guard, caught him staring at her with the sideways glance of someone interested but unwilling to admit it, but her interest was clear.
He slid his eyes lazily away and turned so his back was to the railing. She turned her head to see his profile, if he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye again he would see almost her whole face, a dangerous temptation. He hadn’t really seen her yet, the tendons in his neck lightly pulled him to look at her, but he resisted, he vowed not to look. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially not at this party.
She sighed, a light huff of hot air in the even warmer atmosphere around them, the air around them weighed heavy on him, even the light seemed dragged down. She leaned her narrow gloved hands on the bannister the stem of a champagne flute nestled in her long, lithe fingers.
She was made of long lines like an artist had just drawn out the essential curves in stark black strokes, she flowed like fine ink.
She swirled the champagne in her glass, light winked off it catching the light like a star on earth.
“This is the expensive stuff and what a glass to put it in.” Her voice was low and rolling over him, lulling him into a stupor, “The cost of the wine almost justifies the dressing up, but this glass, the glass definitely justifies the dressing up.”
A sudden shattering caused his trance to break, his vow forgotten his head snapped to look at her.
From her elegant and bewitching fingers the glass had fallen, no, he realized as he looked at her small smirk in profile, the fine crystal glass had been dropped, on purpose.
A galaxy now lay on the stones beneath them, the leaves in the maze had also turned suddenly at the clear cold noise cutting through the heat, but they were once again lost to themselves within moments.
He was now staring into her eyes, unable to look away, pinned like an insect to a scientist’s board, her dark brown eyes looked almost black under shadow and tapered lids.
He spoke one word, his voice rusty and thick with the overly warm air, “Why?”
She glanced down and turned on her heel, her sharp cheekbones and nose flashed in the light of the windowed doors she was headed toward, now that he had looked at her he could not look away. Those inky outlines were nothing on the amorphous night she was truly made of.
“So you would look at me,” she walked through the doors then, the promise of a cool fall night disappearing into the light of a too hot summer party.