June fell over the town, a sprinkling of sunny afternoons and outstretched evenings. Overlooking a river, an old stone wall was laughing, lined with teenagers sharing stories and a packet of bon bons. A row of wacky fun and vibrant colour — fashion was without rules and hairstyles were purely experiments. Striped tights, tutus and way too much hairspray — everything seems like a good idea in your 17th year.
The teenage years — a time of the most complex simplicities. Biology homework can wait until Saturday night’s outfits are decided upon, each hour holds a different adventure, yet feels totally the same, and people become etched into your youth as you get to know them at their most free before adult life creeps up on you. You hope the friendships will last forever, as summertime lasts for an eternity, gently scented by fake tan and a bottle of Malibu.
Places hold more than their buildings and business — benches hold secrets told by best friends, towering trees hold first kisses and initials carved into bark, and every place holds its own goodbye. In life, years take hold on friendships and paths, but memories remain timeless, shrouding an air of magic over the most ordinary things and places. It’s a magic that will remain there long after the laughter has moved elsewhere and met new people, lingering as a symbol of youth as silver strands join your brunette hair and lines begin delicately spreading from your smile.
June fell over the town, caffeinated chaos and a flurry of incoming emails. A table was laughing, as a group of 20-somethings share their hopes for the future, details about their latest Tinder date and the next time they’ll be free to catch up. Balayage, bad dates, bank accounts and the question of babies, they blend their lives together over an oat milk cappuccino, because they’ve all crafted their own journey. Nothing seems like a really great idea in your 26th year — but if you don’t leap then you’ll never know.
This group of women make their way back to their cars — big and small, old and new. They pass familiar benches, swaying secret-holding trees and the locations of goodbyes that set the foundations for different hellos. They send the “Great to catch up!” message into the group chat, start the ignition, before making their way back to where they’re making memories now.
Stopping at a red light, laughter seeps through the window. One of the women smiles as a group of teenagers chat on the footpath — a collection of fearless fashion choices and friendships that they hope will last forever. She drives home, the sun setting on her day, their summertime sparking an eternity. And she wonders if the town, with all its back streets, buildings and changing faces, still remembers her in the same way.
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