Once, We Were Young in Summer

Once, We Were Young in Summer

At one point, a man gets to a certain age and recognizes two things: the world is full of evil and error, and the summer he spent with the One Who Got Away.

Definitely enjoy your youth, young man, when we're all young and beautiful and the days stretch out as though they're endless. When you get to that certain age, you hear the ticking of the clock because time is in such short supply. Too many things to do, not enough hours in the day, too much pressure. One should be so lucky in down economic times to have to worry about work, but there was that time when it was part-time job at the burger joint or the food store, enough to pay for gas, beer and a little weed. Enough to spend on that girl.

The beach is so different when we're young. Not when we're kids, when the sand castle building is fun but the water seems foreboding. Not when we're much, much older, when we've accepted that overhanging belly on the shorts and more jiggling than when we remember as we turn over with a book we've never quite managed to get halfway through. No, when you're young, just entering manhood but not quite a man, the beach even smells different. It's young, it's new. The sun knows it too and kisses you. And then you lean over and kiss her, the One Who Got Away, loving the smell of her hair and the way her skin feels. It's not quite young love, not just youthful lust, but holding hands and staring at the sky or the beginning of dusk. The world is so far away and you have all the time you need.

When we're young, it's when evolution smiles on you for a brief moment: we're at our best, we're young and beautiful and ready to find a mate, although we don't call it that. We're at our strongest. We guys can flex our muscles as though there will never be a day the bicep isn't bulging. A girl's curves are smooth, uninterrupted and sublime. Our dicks are at their biggest at the slightest provocation, the fragment of a memory, the whiff of perfume. It's time to breed, it's time to keep the species going! says the body, while the mind is full of warnings from mom and dad and the preacher who never gets enough rattling off the evils of premarital sex and the nightmare of a single-parent house. You don't think about it because we're young and beautiful, with the girl who is more than a willing bed partner. Yeah, evolution is pushing us when we're at our prime to make more copies of ourselves. Take a swig of Jack, pass the roach, kiss, fuck, cuddle, talk about stupid plans that will never pan out. She takes a picture of you. Doesn't matter. We have time, we have the world before us. She'll take more.

Until that day when you've reached that certain age and you see yourself beset by worries and troubles. Get up, shower, get to work, eat lunch, attending three dozen meetings that leads to four dozen meetings, go home, eat, work more, sleep. And repeat it all the next day.

And when you go the beach, it's not the same. Not because the wife and kids are in tow--the twins are fighting and the neighbor's kid is getting carsick--but because you're no longer young and beautiful. You're content to keep your shirt on because, well, you have to worry about too much sun. You're slathered in sunscreen, you've got your iPhone out to check mail from the office. No, no weed here or more than one beer. What you talk about with your wife are upcoming obligations--weddings, showers, whatever--not idle talk about the future like you did all those summers ago. You catch sight of others you once were: mindless, oblivious but oh, what a wonderful time. Instead you're at that certain age when you know the world is full of evil and error, and of that summer with the One Who Got Away.