On Thursday, I went to the annual outdoor summer concert series in Fort Reno Park for the first time. It was an assortment of couples lounging on blankets, cute dogs, cool bands and– wasted tweens? The event seemed to be largely populated by intoxicated high-schoolers enjoying a warm night on a sweet summer break. I couldn’t help but think the event was all so very OJBG.
Two 16-year-old girls begged us to buy them a pack of black and milds and we ended up chatting about high-school and boys and best friends for most of the night (or at least until their 11 o’clock curfew.) Their boasts of never getting hangovers and never getting caught (even though they’d been drunk every night this week) made me both cringe and smile. They painfully reminded me of my friends and I at that age– for us it was sneaking mixed drinks in Dr. Pepper bottles down to the river to watch movies screen on Magic Island or spiking Slurpees before class.
They’d been sipping rum and cokes out of plastic bottles and flirting with boys who might be old enough to buy them booze all night. As they started telling us about their lives they continually asked, “Are we being annoying?” — but we really didn’t mind. One girl asked me earnestly if things ever get better, if friends ever tell the truth, or if she’d ever not feel like an outsider. And I said yes and no and…maybe.
I warned her that her Junior year would probably be the worst of her life– but Senior year would kick ass. I warned her that soon she’d think back on the people and moments she once loathed with fond nostalgia– “Remember that time you threw-up in my Mom’s closet and I didn’t get to drive the car for a month? Man, those were the days.” I told her the only way to find out who you really love is to move as far away as possible for college and see who you actually miss. The people who don’t matter or aren’t worth the trouble of keeping in touch will just fade away.
The other told me how her boyfriend dumped her after she cheated on him on New Years Eve (Twice. In one night. Ouch.) And wondered if it was possible he’d ever love her again– because she was still “totally in love” with him. Her friend whispered to me, “They had SEX,” as if to validate that love. I paused and told her I sincerely didn’t mean to belittle her emotions, but it was likely in a few years she’d look back on what she thought was love– and laugh. That in a few years she might even doubt the existence of love at all.
Though they were loud and silly and totally oblivious– there was some kind of magic in these girls. The same kind of magic that makes me love watching Orange Juice in Bishops Garden. Because there’s something about watching people make all the same mistakes you did that makes you feel a little nostalgic, a little bit wiser and mostly jealous that you no longer have the same excuse of just ‘being young.’