A short story about where I live.Not sure exactly where it's headed. Should be interesting
|Summer. This one word holds so many definitions. Happiness, the end of exams, a few months of stress free life, sun, the beach, romance…heartbreak. Others render it nothing. Summer does not exist in the ‘real’ world. But Summer exists indefinitely. It is more of a philosophy than a time of year. Summer is a state of mind, a state of being, a way of life. It’s when you stop and think, you relax and enjoy, you breathe in the air that has seemed stagnant before the hot sun and clear skies cleared it. It’s slowing down and enjoying life that goes by too fast. Locals understand this philosophy.
Summer is here! You throw off that stuffy suit and tie, put on the flip flops that have collected spider webs in the back of your closet. you slather sunscreen on. You get the designer beach towel you bought at Saks Fifth Avenue, and put enough soda and snacks in a cooler to feed an entire third world country. You turn the key of your new Mercedes Benz, the engine purrs, and you’re off to the overcrowded beach away from the city…away from the ‘real’ world.
If there is one thing that locals graced by the Summer sun learn, its that tourists come and go. They have real lives away from ‘paradise’ and you will never know who they really are. This is just the way it is, and the way it will always be.
Living in Wilmington, North Carolina had always had its perks. Like the beach that was literally in my backyard. There was always the southern hospitality and small town feel of Wrightsville Beach that I loved. The history of Wilmington and Wrightsville beach brought people of all walks of life to the towns. It was like a different world.
I lived within walking distance to everywhere on the island. Or riding distance. You could always catch me on my bike going to Robert’s Grocer that is nearly a century old. A few steps down the street is Red Dogs, a bar where my parents met while they were in college at UNCW. A coffee shop, an ice cream stand, and the classic tourist trap, Wings, adorned the corner of Lumina street. At Johnny Mercer’s pier, built after a Hurricane knocked the old one down, fishermen caught baby sharks and laughed about the tall tales of ‘the good times’. On the opposite end of the island I enjoyed a sweet tea with a few friends of mine that worked at the Oceanic and watched hundreds of sunsets off the wooden pier.
For me, this was heaven. This was my life. Something that I had always known and grown up in. It’ surreal growing up in a place that thousands of people visit every year and only dream to live in. Usually I looked forward to a summer under the sun in Wilmington, but this year Summer seemed alien to me. Something from another place that was foreign and dangerous. A few days ago I graduated from High School. There were people in my class that I would never see again. I was happy about this fact when it concerned some people, but it was still a bittersweet moment. Now it was time to move on to the ‘next chapter’ of my life, according to my Mom. But what was that exactly? Most of the senior class had a plan, especially the one hundred that I had been stuck with for two years in a ‘prestigious’ program that New Hanover High School offered to Juniors and Seniors. The ‘prestigious’ program was bullshit, and everyone knew it except for the eight teachers running it. By the end of senior year my friends had boiled down to about ten people, and even then, I wouldn’t consider them all my friends.
Of course I had applied to college. This concept was shoved down my throat since I entered kindergarten. Get good grades for fifteen years, do as many sports and extra curricular activities as you can and remember, volunteer at your local shelter. All in the name of going to college. Forget the fact that maybe you enjoy school or the sports you were involved in. Maybe helping people is just a thing that you do out of the goodness of your heart. But no, it was all in the name of college. And everything that involved being accepted had stress and anxiety behind it. I felt so much pressure from everyone while in High School. But I had done all of this. Not for myself though. Mostly because I was raised in a household where, if you didn’t go to college, you were a failure.
In October I was accepted into WVU where I would be getting my veterinarian and business degrees…hopefully. But now as I was sitting on the widow’s peak of my house looking at the ocean as the sun set, I wondered if that is what I wanted to do with my life. Did I really want to move away in less than three months. Away from everything I had known. So many people, including my best friend, Lauren, knew exactly what they wanted to achieve with their lives. They had never questioned it and seemed so strong and confident in their futures. Not me. I was timid, weak even, and I did not want this to be my last summer at home by any means. I didn’t want to grow up.