It’s crazy how two simple words can hold so many images for me.
Okay, so most of them involve a skipping Sandy and hair-combing Danny belting it out at Rydell High, but others are much more personal, such as a teen me:
· Hanging out at the New Orleans levee on Fourth of July, watching the fireworks and flirting with random guys who later turned out to be total thugs
· Stalking my latest crush at his job at the mall for no other reason than I had absolutely nothing better to do with my time
· Going to a week-long Dance Camp and sleeping in the oversize t-shirt my boyfriend of a whole entire week gave me to remember him by (and yes, I did pathetically close my eyes and sniff it for his oh-so-unique Drakkar Noir scent)
|Me in the t-shirt|
· Exchanging smiles, forever-long glances, and eventual sickly-sweet notes with the guy working the kitchen at a retreat with me before senior year
|Me and said dude.|
· And finally, kissing the Italian waiter I met on my whirlwind trip to Europe with family
Only one of these scenarios paid off in a relationship of any significance, and sadly, it wasn’t the Italian-accented hunk. Although, the experience does make for an excellent memory!
But you know what? I’m okay with the fact that most of my summer flings fizzled out quicker than they started, because I don’t think longevity is what makes them so special. It’s what they represent.
When you’re a teenager, the summer is one long, lazy stretch of days that seem to last forever. Without the hassle of classes, extracurricular activities, parental nagging, and school-night curfews, you can live a year’s worth of a relationship in just three short months. A girl’s daydreaming heart needs SOMETHING to focus on with all that free time, and with her favorite TV boyfriends on hiatus, her sole fascination becomes her summer crush.
Will he call? Does he like me back? What should I get him for our one-month anniversary? And what will be our song????
So yeah, while my own experiences with ‘summer lovin’ may not have lasted, I’m cool with it because they are all touched with that certain pixie dust magic that only a hot, humid, Louisiana summer can add. The haze lifting off the sun-drenched concrete, the splash of the tepid pool water as we tried to dunk each other, the confiscated daiquiris out by the lakefront, and the rush of butterflies as the hot new guy strutted over and asked for my number.
The magic might’ve worn off as the new school year begun, but the importance of the summer flirtation met its purpose. It sustained me through the eventless break from school and obligations, provided an all-encompassing obsession though the monotony, and fed that romantic heart of mine with the belief that with a dash of sun, a pinch of sand, and a dollop of pure boredom, love—or at least extreme like—can find a way.
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels. As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends. When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate. MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel. She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.
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