I can't mention their names because they're all married to politicians now and it's an election year. But I knew them before all that. I knew them when we were all the same dress size and our makeup bags had Dr. Pepper flavored Bonne Belle mixed in with our Clinique pressed powder. I remember fifteen and the art of note writing; folding the wide ruled paper with care and sticking it in your back pocket. When we'd drink warm Bud Light in a field by the train tracks that so-and-so's big brother had been hiding in the trunk of his car for weeks. I remember when our opinions of ourselves were as high as our hopes and we all secretly lived for the four days that the county fair would roll through, marking the pinnacle of summer and hoping that the boy who graduated a year before your sister had come home for summer and would ask you to ride the ferris wheel.
The girls now -- they're not gonna' think about these days. Not for a long time. They'll run on the fumes of those experiences for a long while though; too preoccupied that they've arrived to realize they left something behind: everything. And they can't return. Not ever. But they'll want to...
When they're trying to convince themselves that they still like themselves. They'll think about it then. They'll miss it. They'll want it back. And if they don't? Well, they did it all wrong.
I don't know why it is this way. Why those honeysuckle sweetened nights of our younger days pass by like a breeze. You feel the brush of it on your cheek in the moment, but you don't try to breathe it in until it's fifteen years and twice around the equator. Until you're holding your heart together with a paperclip and wondering where your twenties went, where your dreams went, where your fire went. You might not think about those days again until you need that surge of raw emotion that you felt in the dark of a clouded summer night sky, still damp from a humid rain. You might not think about them again until you'd trade your chilled sauvignon blanc (that no one bothered to card you for) for just a sip of the jolly rancher infused vodka that sparked your senses, originality and supercharged your emotions.
But then - finally - you'll realize that those days weren't for that girl. They were never for that girl; the one who you've laid awake thinking about at night and worrying she missed savoring all the good moments - she's fine. Those days, in all of their wonder and sovereignty, were for this woman, on occasion a little jaded and maybe disappointed in herself sometimes. Those days were a note, written on your heart and stuck in your back pocket for when you need to be reminded of why you are the way you are. And why, in a field by the train tracks, you'd still drink a warm Bud Light that so-and-so's big brother had been hiding in the trunk of his car for weeks.