May 21st rolled around after an exhaustingly strenuous year of high school that also happened to be my last. I lost a lot of friends, but I made a lot of friends, too. It was a year full of ups and downs, but I was looking forward to the summer ahead. I graduated next to rows of smiling faces and received a lasting hug from my principal, a man who grew to be my closest ally. The beginning of my last summer was just as magical as I hoped. I saw a few teachers I had been particularly close to, and then my friends and I spent every day with each other. To my dismay, everything changed.
People moved on. A couple of the people I once considered family seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Drugs became an all too familiar party treat, and I soon felt myself treading away from those that I had loved. I became a recluse and holed myself up in my room while everyone I had spent all of my time with just a few days ago danced around each other. Eventually, I noticed a pattern. The people I had survived alongside stopped calling me and inviting me to events. I began to question their intentions, suddenly feeling justified in my loneliness. Were they truly my friends? My mother soon became my best friend once again, and I tried to ignore the fact that this summer was everything I hoped it wouldn't be. All I heard from my consoling family was the same mantra: "People change." My mother pressured me into reading "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz and insisted that none of this was my fault, but who wouldn't blame themselves?
All of the self loathing that bottled up finally exploded in the face of a boy I had been talking to. My sheen of confidence came crashing down, and I abruptly felt the ache of abandonment. I felt helpless. Despite what my family and this boy repeated to me, I could not shake the crippling fear that I really had lost all of my friends. The boy pulled me towards our friends once again, and I felt more nerves than ever before. It was as if I was on show for the whole world. My confidence had been stripped away from my flesh, and I did not know how to recover again. After a few weeks of timid hello's and shy good-bye's, I felt like I could call a few of those people my friends again. We began to spend more time together, and soon everything began to feel like the beginning of summer. We laughed and cracked silly jokes while sitting outside in the heat of Arizona. We began to see how much time we really had left with each other as the group dwindled down due to college starting and big summer moves. We began to act like we were living the happiest days of our lives. I think we could all agree that this summer has been one to remember. My only regret is that I did not appreciate these sweltering warm summer days until the final countdown.