Going to the beach is something I look forward to every summer. There's just nothing like it. But when I can't physically get there, there's nothing like a good beach-read to transport me to my happy place.
I read The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares this January. One night when I couldn't fall asleep in my old bed at home (isn't it scary when you start to feel more comfortable at your apartment than your childhood home? Helllooo growing up.), I picked up the book sitting on my bedside table, assuming my mom left it there after she read it. It happened to be The Last Summer (of you and me) and I couldn't put it down until I finished it that night (or should I say the next morning?).
Ann Brashares has a gift when it comes to appealing directly to the fondest memories of my life thus far. She started with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series that defined my pre-teen years. It was like something straight out of my diary; falling in love with the camp counselor, having a group of amazing friends that eventually become separated, moving to Greece and finding my soulmate...oh wait, that last one was just a fantasy. Maybe it was that combination of fantasy and reality that made me love it so much or maybe it's that Brashares just has an amazing gift of weaving together stories into a heart-wrenching novel.
One year later...
I started this post almost exactly a year ago and never finished it. Now, coming back to it, I feel a different meaning in it. When I began writing this, the title was merely the title of a novel to me, but now it's somewhat of a reality. I never thought that I would be finishing this post as...(pause for dramatic effect) a single person. After 3 years with the same person, and 2 1/2 years with someone before that, I am single, more or less, for the first time in my adult life.
When I read the title of this post today, a lump formed in my throat. Now, you've obviously figured out that I'm a slight cheese-ball just by the fact that I love novels like this one, but my sentimentality has hit an all time high since the end of my relationship. They say it's normal for things to remind you of your ex in the wake of a break up, but is it normal to cry when you find one of his hairs on your pillow? And then subsequently refuse to wash those sheets for weeks out of fear of never seeing one of his hairs ever again? (I swear I'm normally a very sanitary person). I think that reaction is an example of my emotions getting a little out of hand. Every time I look around my apartment, my eyes can't help but fall on something that reminds me of him, whether it's something as mundane as one of his hairs, or a picture of us in Cabo san Lucas. At first the pain of being constantly bombarded with his memory was unbearable; I couldn't be alone in my apartment. But as the weeks have dragged on, instead of wishing to suppress the memories, I've started to let myself be comforted by them; by the good times.
An interesting phenomenon that I've discovered occurs when I see a picture of us, looking like the perfect couple, and automatically think, "Oh God, I've ruined it all. I'll never have another perfect moment like that." But then often, I'll stop and think about the event that picture was taken at and remember that, just moments later, he would do something to piss me off and the night would end in tears. So, while it'as nice to hold onto the good times, it's important for me to remember that not all of them were as perfect as the pictures would lead me to believe.
Lesson Learned: "Memory is infinitely more beautiful than reality." -- Anonymous