Remember These Stars | Teen Ink

Remember These Stars MAG

May 26, 2014
By JessA2987 BRONZE, Huntersville, North Carolina
JessA2987 BRONZE, Huntersville, North Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All things are ready if our minds be so." William Shakespeare (Henry V)

An unseasonably cool May wind blows through my open window, screen punched out in an attempt to let everything breathe, to keep what’s left whole. The breeze catches the pictures and calendar pages blanketing my room, blowing through years of memories before it disperses. This unmovable, ungraspable force has sailed along as part of nature’s plan. It’s skirted rooftops and clipped lawns, rustled tree limbs and lifted birds’ wings, and just as it appears, it vanishes. It didn’t know it was being created. The funnels of the jet stream happened to be exactly aligned, and the gust was just lucky – lucky to be formed at that place at that time when the universe could have passed it over, never given it life at all. What happens to the gust now that it’s gone?

I don’t bother to cross out the dates on my calendar anymore. The neat green “X”s stop on May 14th, the last day reality didn’t seem so real. That’s the mystery of high school; no matter how real it seems when grades come in, standardized test scores threaten to ruin a perfectly good morning, or the team finally wins the big game, it’s not. It’s a virtual reality where numbers aren’t accompanied by dollar signs and our bosses want us to thrive and our coworkers are the kids from three doors down, the same we’ve known since kindergarten, give or take. The smell of green tea and stale butterscotch candy that wafts down the theater hallway and onto the stage doesn’t really exist. The track where we run off our problems every afternoon is just a myth. “Your life doesn’t really start until college,” they say. “That’s where you meet your real people.”

But what if I’ve already met my real people, the ones cartwheeling in the atrium and planning each other’s “surprise” birthday parties, who bring me coffee and brownies when I have double AP exams and a regional track conference on the same day? The people who I see more than anyone else, and who, if we had five minutes left to live, would I find and hug and say “You’re my family” to as we awaited our impending doom while playing Cards Against Humanity?

In high school, the older you get, the lonelier you become. Freshman year, when we all come in starry-eyed and dewy-faced, the friends we’ve had before are all we know. We’re used to being socially caged; it’s not only the standard, it’s the rule. Then, suddenly, there are so many people! People who like swimming and also sing and are really good at physics; people who dance ballet and play trumpet and who can rally a group around a cause; people who do nothing and own it. And we get to hang with all of them for a while. Well, more like hang onto – they’ve clearly got their lives together. They are the planets, strong and certain, and for that year we are asteroids orbiting, trying to figure out if we’ve found the right home.

Sophomore year rolls around, and we’ve found our real friends, and they are pretty amazing. They’re kind and smart and hilarious – the kind of funny that takes time to cultivate and patience to deliver, that relies on the joke-receiver having a grasp of the intricacies of European history along with a strong inclination toward Horatian satire. They’re juniors, so they know what they’re talking about. They do theater, and now so do we. They spend their nights around bonfires and, hey, we do too! They give us advice, invite us to dinner, invite us to prom; they are really great friends.

And now we’re the juniors! The friend group grows to add a few underclassmen (did we have that much energy as freshmen?) and some new kids who found our little gust the same way we did. Luck, I guess, but more wholesome, like luck with a purpose. It wasn’t fate: fate comes with the connotation of everything falling magically into place, and we’ve worked for this thing, this dynamic of laughter and intellect.

Together, we sing terribly; most of us are actually really good, but it’s a lot more fun to wail “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We make cupcakes from scratch and, inevitably, play more Cards Against Humanity, because we’ve decided that we’re all horrible people. We’re family. We form bonds. We form bands! Good bands with musicians who can stop at the same time on the right note! We help each other out and crack each other up.

But wait – we’re not all juniors. The cold realization hits hard when we’re in folding chairs and last summer’s dresses and they’re in caps and gowns, about to walk across the stage and out of our lives. Don’t leave! my heart screams. What about our picnics? Our jokes? But they grab their diplomas and shake some authority’s hand and suddenly they’re gone. Caps are thrown and hugs exchanged, and I’m just standing in the middle watching it all happen. The rain hits forcefully, seemingly out of nowhere, and just as quickly as we came, we run. The lawn is empty, the chairs dripping and desolate; the only noise is rain pattering on the windshield on the way home. No stories, no jokes. I turn on “Bohemian Rhapsody” and wail.

When next year comes, we will be planets, solid and encompassing. We will have asteroids, but these asteroids will have other planets too. We’ll form a new gust, with our wind giving its last breath and new wind coming along to join the ride. We’ll make new jokes, I suppose. Maybe we’ll form a band. It could be nice. But I’m selfish and nostalgic. I like to think that our gust was something special, that we weren’t asteroids and planets circling each other, trying to keep up: we were stars sharing a universe, shining on our own, dazzling together.

When I walk across the stage next May and go off into the world, my star will be in a different universe with all new people who like doing new things. But because of our family, it won’t just shine; it will dazzle.

The author's comments:

The thought of losing touch with some of my closest friends as they graduate and go off to college is nearly unbearable. I will miss their sense of humor, their perspective, and, most of all, their genuineness as people. This piece is a tribute to how they helped me grow as a person and to how the people in our lives who truly inspire us never really leave us.

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