The Last Summer; a Disposable Diary
Several weeks ago, Hannah and Kyla and I were sitting/floating/sprawling in the concrete hot tub by the pool in Kyla’s complex. Their sunglasses were pushed up their heads and they were trading songs back and forth, this deep blue slice of californian sky above them, just enough to see the beginnings of the city they’d spent their whole life in.
It was maybe 8:30, this weird twilight hour, and the pool area was empty except for us and we were quiet for a second and Kyla said, “We used to want to be exactly where we are now. A lot of the time people don’t realise that.”
The month I spent in San Diego had a weird, charged energy to it. For most of my friends there, it was the last summer before college - before they moved up the coast or across the country, or watched their friends pack up their bedrooms, or just finally let go of a sense of adolescence. It was wonderful and weird and came with a lot of heartache, but it also created some of the most beautiful moments and expressions of love I’ve ever seen or experienced.
This is Jessie, Roxy, Kian and Zara. They’re four of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met. They have different coloured hair most weeks and most of the time it’s hard to keep track of who’s kissing who, but they share a kind of love and intimacy and sense of family that’s almost impossible to explain - you have to see them together to understand.
This was a summer they spent in each other’s cars and bedrooms and company, hiking and swimming and dancing and missing 1am buses and falling in love with each other in a hundred different ways, all documented through stacks of disposable cameras.
It was their last summer, in a way, too - Roxy’s in New York for college now, and though the other three are still in San Diego, they’re finding their own paths through different schools & dreams & choices. They sort of epitomised everything I was thinking and feeling in San Diego, and everything I think thousands of kids are thinking and feeling in the months after high school, before college. So, I just think the memories and photos and love Jessie, Roxy, Kian and Zara created this summer should be seen by everyone, if only to feel everything they’ve felt together, and in turn hold your friends a little tighter.
drunken nights in an orange haze
but citrus makes me sick
and it is you that i wanted in this bed
so please baby
replace her in my memory
hold me close when i whisper to be nice
hold me down when i lilt on your tongue
blue lover of mine
please wake me in the morning
i want to see your face
in the peachy dawn
spin you around my finger tip
claim your bottom lip
love you in the daylight
“1:07 am in the greyhound bus station. We smoked on the bathroom floor. Zara stabbed my blister with a needle. We bought foam and crayons from a very disgruntled employee. We missed our bus. We leave at 2:25 am. We’re playing willAM and sitting on the floor…”
I wrote this under a payphone at a greyhound station in LA, a single strand of pearls wrapped intricately around my head into both a necklace and a headband, sleep deprived, shacked, and happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. We had ubered from Art Prom to the station, 40 minutes early for our bus. A lady told us we were at gate 5, so we scoped out where our gate was and, being the floor goblins we are, instead of sitting in one of the many open benches, sat directly in the room, blocking every single passenger trying to walk past us. Roxy and I ate a bus station burger that was surprisingly scrumptious. We went to our gate at 11:20, first in line for our 11:30 departure. We watched the people next to us board at 11:30, and continued impatiently sitting on the floor, wondering where our train was, until about 11:45. A train arrived, and we tried to board… only to find out ours had left half an hour ago. After 45 minutes of Zara and Roxy waiting to talk to someone and me guarding our bags on the other side of the room, we got tickets for a 2:30 am bus, arriving back into San Diego at 5:30 am. I, having stayed up until 5 am the night before and just danced my heart out all night, laid on Roxy’s lap as she played with my hair and Zara blasted Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers from her phone and danced around to it. I was trying to think of a way to boost our spirits and wake myself up, and I remembered the little toy section in the shop Roxy and I bought our late night snacks from. I got off Roxy’s lap and said “I’ll be right back”, as they murmured that I was a crackhead behind me. I came back with crayons and FLOAM that we proceeded to throw at each other and doodle with for the next hour and a half. Then, happy and tired, I wrote this.
I think that was the best day of my life. Art Prom was the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced, such a charged artistic energy. And to end the night with something like this, so incredibly US, made everything in the world feel right. Of course, I was texting Kian the whole time, talking about how fun art prom was and how i was annoyed Zara and Roxy left me alone for so long and how much I missed him, because that’s what you do with family. You get annoyed at every little thing they do, you laugh constantly when you’re together, you share all of your life with them, you’re around each other so much you start to sound the same, you love the same things, you know them better than they know themselves, pick up on their mannerisms and what that face means instead of this face and the emphasis they put on wording and the way their nostrils flare when they’re mad, and when you’re not with them, you miss them. You miss them more than anything. So, welcome to my family.
she is sickly sweet and red like cherries
6 inch heels and then tastes like berries
she drowns herself in grenadine
captures your mind and wipes it clean
initiate these feelings:
feverish fecundity mixed with
reason with the voice
inside your head.
this too shall pass, i promise:
hate, love, feelings atomic.
encourage what is not chronic.
bathe in that buoyancy, the
sacrifice your sympathy
to just get out of bed.
lips drip with the nectar
that comes from craving him
tongue thick like honey
wiring my mouth closed
like stitching up an open wound
as if to say stop,
you cannot say what you think
don't you see?
your emotions are a trap
and you are a honey bee
dear jessie, dear zara, dear kian, dear roxy,
you have my heart always