Saturday, September 5, 2009

Summer's Over.

What happens with back-to-school: it's like a little breakup, like that first easier one in high school, maybe college, the one where you actually knew it had to happen, but you mourned it all the same. It's not a full-bore tragedy. This is not you afraid even to be seen in third period pre-calc. This is both of you at least for now pretending that you'll be friends, you still sorry for her because her dad's crazy, still a little hot for her, just like you always were, so Friday'll be difficult—that's the day when all the drill-teamers wear their uniforms to school, just like everybody else involved with the football game. Cheerleaders, drill team, football players, and, oh, yeah, pep band, of which you are a card-carrying member. You'd busted the natural order of things—as a rule, it isn't so much that drill team and pep band don't mix, though they tend not to, but that's not quite the point. This was an unlikely pairing at best: she's tall, long-legged, shiny-haired. You're you, so picture the big square gold glasses, the baseball cap not so much worn backwards as mounted in those beautiful curls you weren't allowed to cut the hell off until much later, in graduate school, plus the chin you couldn't yet (and really still can't) grow enough beard to cover up. That was the two of you in her cream-colored 1968 Mustang last weekend, talking, actually talking, you realizing she wasn't quite sporting the full complement of sanity, her telling you she knew it, that she couldn't date anybody, pep band or no. Two weeks later she'd be dating a running back, and that was OK, because you'd find a saxophone player, and she'd be the one to do you real damage, anyway, later on—

Losing summer is like that. You know you can't have summer all fall long. You know you like fall better, actually. But that first Friday—that first Friday is a little tough. The drill team comes to school in its full uniform, the shiny sequined tops, the tiny, tiny skirts. This is difficult on you. You're a fifteen-year-old boy. This is not a creature which does well in the face of sequins and skirts. This is not a creature which does well, even if he knows better, with the loss of summer.

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