On Facebook, a friend just asked me what's up. I wrote back: "i'm half moved-out of my room, coming home in a couple of days, in love with dance, and pensive."
There are empty places in my room now where things like framed photos, a rack of wire cubes holding various books and other things, and a big round green chair used to be. Several large boxes (and a bunch of bubble wrap) now reside in a corner of the room; upon one box is a pile of clothes displaced from its prior location on top of the wire cubes. Yeah I've gotten messier in college, but I like that.
The boxes are an obvious reminder of the transition I will complete on Tuesday morning: going back home. Home is great, I've realized. People will say they couldn't wait to get out of their hometowns, or away from their parents or siblings, or what have you. I think my brother can't wait to go off to college this coming fall. But the longer I'm at college, the more I appreciate home. As things are right now, this is the last summer that I will be there with my family for sure. I want to hug everyone; play Guitar Hero; watch chick flicks and go out to brunch and go shopping and chill in Barnes and Noble/Starbucks with my mom; talk and laugh through the unique course of dinner conversation; eat good meals prepared by Mom (man I am so excited for food at home after a year of Wawa and dining-dollar-bought sameness and such); play a game with Dad; play ping pong; claim a mug's worth of hot water when my dad decides to make some tea; wake up and be around the goings-on of a family.
And hell, I have to take this moment. I miss Jersey. Seems like some people don't like New Jersey, and maybe that's only a few people so I don't really know anything about what people think, but I don't care. It's where I was born and raised and before Philly and Penn, before my first time living in a city - which is great by the way - I lived nowhere but Colts Neck. I'm surrounded by neighborhoods of mansions that used to be farms some day a long time ago, high school kids who drive a Lexus to school, a cute and little but nice library where I used to work, the Colts Neck Shopping Center, Delicious Orchards, and driving everywhere you want to go. I miss my mall in the next town over (not that I did ever go there much, and I still don't now), and the movie theater I go to, and strip malls and car dealerships along all the highways. And OH my gosh I can't wait for the beach. Half an hour's drive to the grid of streets, a parallel parking job that I still haven't really learned to do, and a flash of the season badge (um, need to get one) to step onto the hot sand and see the beautiful waves. There is nothing like the physical pleasure of slowly pulling off the top, stepping out of the shorts, and exposing so much skin to the heat of the sun mixed with an occasional airy touch of light wind. Delve into warm laziness.
If I may, permit me to have a summer fantasy for a moment? There's something about the beach - I think it has to do with the hazy warmth contrasted with the cold, the excitement, and the potential for fear that the water imposes. And the nighttime beach has its own magic. The air is still warm enough for shorts, the sand is cool, soft, and expansive, the dark waves are fringed with white and teasingly reach for and pull back from the sand. It's quiet, and dark. In day or night on the beach, my imagination so often includes being with a guy. I want him to hold me against the cold, dive with me through the waves, walk dripping back onto the sand, and lie down side by side under the sun. And the cool night scene is beautifully made for two alone. To pull my mind back to reality, there is an important piece that I lack. I don't know who I would want to be with me there. And so that perfect scene is left a tad unfinished, and I wonder if this summer I might get a try at it.
The other half of summer is imminent too. Staying here an extra week has let me push it under a mental rug somewhat, but it's there. Summer is scatter time. We go off to research abroad, jobs in California, family and vacation and work. And all the times with friends over the year coalesce into a surge of meaning, and gratitude, and sadness, in these last few days. I can't appreciate these times enough, and I have a silly little want to go back and relive them, just to make sure I enjoy them as much as I can. Thinking over these memories right now, I am so incredibly happy and thankful for friends. The talks, the laughter, the closeness: I am tempted, at moments like this, to hold those things as more important than anything. And so the beginning of summer is sad because I won't have these people in my life for a (little?) while. I will, probably, find a few friends back home at some point or other, and hope to make a few visit trips, but home friends have also scattered and are living new lives. So I'm holding onto everything that I've loved this year, and being pretty damn glad I've still got senior year left. As one friend pointed out, we're apart for four months - it's not really that bad.