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The Stories We’ll Tell

Listen While Reading: Closer by Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

It’s that time of year again when summer is coming to a close and we all have to slip back into reality. When we have to trade booze filled summer nights in the city and long car rides with throwback songs blasting through the stereo in the background for library cubicles and caffeine-infused all-nighters.

But somewhere in the chaos of attempting to be real people again, you’ll reminisce about the guy you had a thing with for a month back in July and how this summer was going to be one for the books (because what summer isn’t?). How we laid on the hood of your dad’s car in an abandoned parking lot in the middle of the night, pointing out constellations that were probably wrong and pretending we knew more then what we read on the Internet about global affairs. The phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ had never been so true.

We’ll look at the Polaroid pictures we drunkenly took and then found again in the morning, wondering what the hell we were thinking as we hang them in our rooms when we move back to school two days before classes start. Because no good story ever started out by staying in – except that one time when I watched Straight Outta Compton (but that’s another story). It never felt so good to be alive. It never felt so real. Never felt so raw. Because this summer, we were as unapologetic as they come and we barely felt the sleep-deprivation (thank you coffee!).

Those nights we can barely explain because we’re laughing too hard and spluttering out ‘you just had to be there’ is the only suitable response to the weird looks you receive from your school friends. Because how do you explain half the things you managed to accomplish this summer without sounding a little off your rocker?

The answer: you don’t. Like a magician, you never fully reveal the secrets behind your adventures. You only ever manage to explain half the story anyway. It’s more fun that way.

“We were just grabbing a coffee” You’ll say, visualizing the barista from behind the counter who you ended up befriending at the start of your caffeine-infused escapade.

“Long story short” You explain in between pushing your hair behind your ear and sipping on your third coffee of the day, “She ended up with a tattoo, a pretty sick one at that, and I pretended to loose my car keys to avoid getting the third degree from my parents when I got home at 2am.” 

“Why would you get the third degree?” Will be the inevitable response. The tattoo is a minor, but permanent, detail to the story anyway and can be revisited latter. It requires more explanation than the one-hour break between your class allows for. Because as a twenty-something, everything has to have some significance to it, a tattoo clearly can’t just be because you thought it would be pretty. Even though that might well have been part of the reason, but you know, only slightly.

“I would have gotten the third degree because I was supposed to be home at 7pm.” And if you knew my mother, you’d realize she’s as punctual as an Olympic start, will be the thought running through your head as your conversation partner tries to piece together how the hell you went from coffee to making the decision to get permanently inked at 5 in the afternoon.

It’s like Stephen Chbosky said in Perks of Being a Wallflower, these will all be stories one day and I’m betting you’ve made some great ones this summer. So as your refit your room to include textbooks and study guides and switch your summer shorts for winter sweaters, hold tight to the moments this summer gave you.

Because feelings are fleeting, but Snapchat screenshots are forever.

Words by Sarah Sutherland // Photography by Gina Dinwiddie.

© 2016 Reef Magazine



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