I’m sitting on the porch of my childhood home, or at least the home that we moved into when I was thirteen, just a few blocks from my then middle school, which now, as far as I can remember, no longer exists. The house sits a block off a main avenue, and moving in at 13, it was the first time I’d lived somewhere where I could walk to restaurants with my friends: McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, a snowcone truck, a coffee bar where I drank a few hot ciders in the fall. I remember feeling grown-up, even though I never walked anywhere by myself. But the fact that my friends and I had the freedom to get cookie dough blizzards without our parents, was novel and exciting and, in a way, addicting. Today, I still feel that same thrill when I go somewhere new, and especially when it involves ice cream.
Last September, I wrote about what summer felt like in 2015. 2016 summer has been a tapestry of new and old places: Lopez Island over Memorial Day, where we read books and watched movies and dared to be as lazy as we possibly could; a cold, rainy June day on Whidbey Island with my parents, where I felt the strange realization that I would never get my degree there all over again; fourth of July in Seattle, revisiting Slate Coffee Bar and flying high and crashing on caffeine. This summer, I rode a tandem bike up and down the main drag of my neighborhood in the Fremont Solstice Parade, wearing nothing but a jingly bellydance belt and sandals. It amazed me how quickly our varied, beautiful bodies became normal, and how no one hurried to dress at the end. This summer, I sat on a blanket under a generous sun, eating blueberries and listening to Neko Case sing one of my favorite songs from the past few years, radiating awe and happiness to my core. This summer, I worked from home on long afternoons and canned cherry butter and pickled garlic scapes and wondered what I’d be at this time next year. This summer I spent two nights in an author-themed hotel on the Oregon Coast, reading in a top-floor library with spiced wine in my belly and a fire at my feet. This summer felt like adventure, felt like I could do things, had permission and desire and just barely enough money to do a little living. This summer, I ate way too many thin-crisp fries at Brouwer’s, and drank way too much beer, and fell in love with blackberries, again.
This summer I left Seattle. I cried and questioned and dragged my feet, and yet, in the end, I ultimately left. This summer, I made another life-changing decision, and will spend the time until next summer seeing how it plays out.
What did this summer feel like for you?