I was in middle school back in 2010. I would spend most of my time avoiding school work and indulging in online comic books, video games, movies and listening to massive amounts of music. Consuming all this media, you develop a taste for archetypes (this isn’t speaking towards the quality of the archetypes but more so that they become recognizable).
The one that always stuck was the idea of a band of friends being called to an epic quest. One that usually provides shared trauma yet triumph and leads to maturity and an everlasting friendship. I think most of us form relationships with a projection of what we may see one day being our epic quest in life. I would guess it’s a reason why people join the military, groups with shared interests or desire to travel to unknown places. We are willing to undertake intensity if it makes the bonds between those around us tangible. I never found that intensity; that epic quest. For a moment though, bonds I shared with a group of people did become tangible.
I had three friends, not so much by choice as in many great quests but, by the circumstance of all of us living in the same condominium and having to walk seemingly miles down a cement road in the Florida heat. One of my friends came around seasonally, his stepfather was a pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies. One of the perks of moving around a lot is that he was able to take some singing lessons in Australia. We really bonded over our love of music (even started a middle school band together). Another friend, I fell in love with seeing her run; to or from places. I first noticed her when I saw her running. I was sitting in my house and noticed her through my screen door. From that day on we would always play outside. I never made a move because she always felt out of reach. Instead, I always tried to “play it cool” around her. Her response was always having a low opinion of me. My response was always diving deeper into my “coolness”. A nasty cycle but, one that never got in the way of us wanting to play more with each other.
One of the biggest threats to my being “cool” was her older sister (though the way she acted, most didn’t think of her as the oldest; definitely not the responsible one). She was another one of our friends. She spent a lot of time freaking out about things. What things? Everything! I believe why was a mystery to her just as much as it was for us. She was a big Rock music fan, which I wasn’t at the time. I always imagined that was what made her so intense.
Like every school year, summer defines the end of it. There is a different atmosphere about those last couple days of school. I think we all feel it. A temporary finality to it. Though we all usually see each other over the summer. With the band and of just to occasionally play baseball or man hunt. This summer would be different. One friend had to move again so his step dad can coach. The other two were moving as well. Even my mom had possible buyers looking at our home. So on our last day together, the last day of the school year, magic happened. I can’t really remember why but, walking down that road, we all broke out in song. Fireflies by Owl City. We harmonized and laughed and for a moment planet Earth did turn slowly. I had a band of epic friends and we would march down this road together knowing this would be our last. While I knew he went off to Canada, I never knew where the two girls moved to. I never moved but I could always walk down that cement road, and because of that song, it felt miles shorter.