This is how summer begins: fast and in velvet night. We are two girls biking around a cul-de-sac going nowhere. We’ve learned this much from physics class—you can be tired and out-of-breath two hours later just to find out that you’re still biking on the same damn street. There’s nothing for us here, we know that much. Home doesn’t offer much in summer: homemade blackberry ice pops, pedicure sessions, beaded friendship bracelets. We roll our eyes, too self-righteous to feign interest. There is nothing for us here, so we must go elsewhere. We are two girls biking around a cul-de-sac but we can borrow my brother’s old car. We can drive into the next county with the windows down. We can put our feet up on the dashboard while we cruise down the interstate and pass a bag of Cheetos back and forth. Neither of us has a license, but growing up has taught us how to escape. We are two girls crossing state borders and staring up at the stars, how they look the way they did back home. Life isn’t as boring on the road, but it is boring nonetheless. Three days in and I am carsick, tired of the wind in my hair and ‘80s music on CDs. I am writing an elegy for the concept of back home, eulogizing distance and speed and time. At the gas station, I curl my fingers around the payphone cord: an endless series of Yes, no, maybe, uh-huh, nope. How do I carry myself home? This is how summer is happening: I am deeply unsatisfied and only sometimes far away.
May Hathaway is a high school student in New York City. Her work appears in Blue Marble Review, the Aurora Review, and One Sentence Poems and has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is a 2020 Adroit Journal Creative Nonfiction Mentee and enjoys doing crosswords in her free time.