A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 36th birthday. Yep, 3-6. Two entire decades have passed since I was in the sweet spot of teenagedom. Twenty years, man that is a lot of time.
I won't say my life was wonderful during that year that dreams are supposedly made of, but I learned a lot. My family was facing some tough issues, so the summer of my 16th year was spent at my grandmother's house. I got my first job. I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd. I cut my hair. I had a very intense flirtation with a young man at my new job who had less than honorable intentions. My grandmother had the good sense to nip that in the bud. I also spent a lot of time on the phone with a boy I had known since I was 12 and was convinced down to very marrow of my bones that he was my one true love.
We would talk most nights for four or five hours straight into the wee hours where just being awake is very similar to being intoxicated. One night we began to discuss love, loving each other, and just what the word love meant. We searched through many definitions, all of which were too small and weak to convey the entirety of what is felt by the teenage heart. One such explanation posed was "a phone call at 1 a.m.". Then we wondered, believing ourselves very deeply philosophical, was that the same as a call at 3a.m. . So we continued talking until 3, the kind of talk and confession that makes you lightheaded and leaves you craving more than just talking. When the hour of evaluation arrived we concluded that something more had been discovered, something intensely intimate, yet something so fleeting that it could belong only to that night, even just that hour. It could not survive the rising of the sun.
And so that night passed, as well as the summer, my sixteenth year, and my "forever" feelings for the boy. Many years have come and gone and many things have happened. I've discovered that that definition keeps morphing just like it did that night. That its presence is indeed fleeting. That sometimes, on nights like this, I need one of those phone calls sprinkled with a touch of that magical feeling of long ago. I need to, just for few special hours, see the world through the eyes of my youth.