The bonds that made the joyous summer of 2006 possible were formed so many years ago. That little fourth grade classroom felt lives ago. James, Liam and I sat in a row and Danny sat in front of us. The first and third girls I ever liked sat behind us.
Long ago enough that we were discovering the things that make us human. Also an obsession with pushing the limits of what we could get away with. But things were different back then. I and Liam made straight A’s, barely able to understand circumventing authority.
Our grade school days and middle school days are so hazy to me now, as though they were experienced by different people. And yet without them I don’t know how we would’ve evolved.
September eleventh of 2001 happened to be at the start of our seventh grade year during music class. Our history teacher came to the class and told us to turn on the T.V. We watched like everyone else did. We also saw the second plane hit in real time, there is no way to explain that. It’s a wreathing scar for those who saw it and especially those who experienced it, and neither of the two are holding out for it to heal, that’s for the next generation to make better, I hate that it‘s to be pawned off on them, but their perspective will help them pick up the pieces.
Yet the worst thing about that time was the sense of hope and pointed assuredness that was squandered. Not even squandered, but killed. The rest of the decade would be so damn hard to stomach. Those who were there and alive shouldn’t forget the genuine feelings. We shouldn’t have to listen to false-croon country-music stars or watch any eye-drop-tears movie that will dilute the short flash of earnestness that followed. Maybe it was all meant to burn at both ends, anyway that’s what happened and at one point or another every American would wind up against each other and forming new allegiances as they changed their pants.
I don’t know why we stuck together like we did. We were outsiders, more outside than we even realized. But there was more, what it was I don’t know, it was a product of the times but could never be bought and sold, you either were or you weren’t. It was so amazingly personal that only four guys shared the first half and five the rest, then it was gone forever. It could never be the same and probably shouldn‘t be. One day there won’t be anything of us left except these stories. It’s a weird reality at seventeen when reality is already so skewed.