There can be magic times in a teen’s life, I think, and one of them is the long, lovely summer between high school and college. It was that way for me, and these past two and a half months, it has been that way for Lizzie. Although I worked like a dog all that long-ago summer – I was a kitchen drudge in the White Mountains (three meals a day, seven days a week, one day off every two weeks) — it was also an expansive, wondrously thoughtless time, a time of no expectations, a time when everything seemed possible and there was no hurry to find out what might be next.
High school, which lasted for, I don’t know, something like twenty years, was finally over. The “first day of the rest of my life” would not begin until mid-September at college orientation. I remember a mesmerizing blankness, a kind of trance. It may have been the last time I felt liberated from both past and future.
And now it’s been Lizzie’s turn. This has been her summer. Her days are unplanned, some lazy, some full to the brim. Everything is off the cuff; everything is an adventure. Her friend base has expanded — doubled, tripled – no longer constrained by who happens to be in her classes, no longer hampered by lack of transportation, no longer hemmed in by 10 pm curfews. Her activities have expanded – serious girlfriend time (no high school angst/ mean girl cliques), night-sky gazing, trips to the beach, taco sleep-overs, uber-gaming…and lots and lots of time with the new guy.
Yes, there is a boyfriend. I do not yet have permission to talk about him, so I will just say that he texts her compliments when they are apart, tells her how great she is, how beautiful she is, how smart she is. I had a boyfriend that endless summer too, one – like Lizzie’s new guy — who didn’t know the high school me. And everything seemed possible, and there was no hurry to find out what would be next.