|Take that look of worry, mines an ordinary life
Working when its daylight
And sleeping when it’s night
I’ve got no far horizons
I don’t wish upon a star
They don’t think that I listen
Oh, but I know who they are.
-Phil Collins, from Take Me Home (1986)
My life started and ended in only three months, a season that I shall never forget. It was the summer of 2008, full of intense heat waves and the laughing of young children jumping into the neighborhood pool. Adults played volleyball at the park down the street while groups of teenagers of rode their bikes down the asphalt streets, sweating under the hot sun’s fierce glare.
It was a time for fun and play. There was little league baseball for the boys, softball for the girls; swimming lessons for the young and relaxing evenings watching the sun set for the elders. The mosquitoes hadn’t returned for some odd reason, giving us all the pleasure of the outdoors at night, letting the humid air roll off our skin in waves until we cooled off inside our air conditioned homes.
For me it was just like any other summer really… or at least, it was at the start. School had ended and even though I had already graduated from the eighth grade, it didn’t feel like I was a high school student yet. I still felt young and not responsible for anything in the world. No cares, no worries; just plain simple summer vacation.
My mum and I call it the Summer of Green Tomatoes. As soon as the local farmer’s market had started, I biked down with my mum to the Transportation Building Parking lot to buy a tomato plant. And it was not just any tomato plant, but a Green Zebra Stripe. It was only a sprout then, hardly more than eight inches tall when I bought it.
Every other day, I watered it, letting the sun’s warm rays beat down onto my back. My mum had other plants set in pots for me to water: gardenias, wild flowers, and a tiny sage plant that had managed to survive the harsh winter. I would always water those first, saving my own for last. At first, the cool, translucent water would rush out of the spout and onto the dirt in the pot, but soon, it would slow, trickling out like a mini waterfall. I enjoyed those few moments in the yard, my iPod blasting Genesis and Widelife at full volume, my bare feet scraping against the rough stones of our patio.
But now, it is winter, February rolling into March, the gray snow still covering the ground and more on the way. Sitting at my computer in my fleece pajamas, I cannot help but wonder about those lost days when I actually saw the sun and I wasn’t inside a classroom all day, learning about the labor movement of the 1800’s and the division of cells. They seem so far away, swept away like the fallen leaves of October, carried down into the drains by the rain. Only now can I full appreciate them, their glory and brilliance, the heat and the sun; and the friendships made.