This series is about those songs, those moments, those remembrances.
Death Cab for Cutie: "A Movie Script Ending"
I'm about 14 and I'm in a strange, unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar city with my best friend at the time, Isabelle. It was the summer between our freshman and sophomore year of high school, and we had overcome a somewhat tumultuous first year of high school, most of it spent hating one another for no good reason. You know teenagers.
We had just so happened to be vacationing in the same general area about 900 miles away from Phoenix, at the same time that summer: me in Pleasant Hill, California to visit my aunt and she in Dublin, California to visit her father. Before our trips and upon our realization of this fortune, we had coordinated just so -- plotting, planning, mapping out The Summer of Our Lives, including begging for and eventually succeeding in securing tickets to go to our first Warped Tour together (we had to get up front to see Thursday!!!!). Her father was going to drive us there and back, so I had stayed with her in Dublin the night before and the night of, for ease of transportation.
Such dreamboats! (source)
The night immediately post-Warped Tour: The room feels like mahogany and has trim on top of the wallpaper is something like trains, leading me to believe that this room belonged at one point to young boys. The bunk beds we slept in added to this assumption. Isabelle and I, wired on life and blissfully sunburnt post-Warped Tour, are watching music videos on a heavy, clunky laptop computer (so cool for it's time!). I even register my first-ever personal e-mail address (no shitting you, it was email@example.com) in a fit of obvious obsession.
She had copied Death Cab for Cutie CDs for me earlier that year and they became almost biblical to us -- so needless to say, we swooned and squealed over the discovery of an official music video for our shared favorite Death Cab song, "A Movie Script Ending." I distinctly remember listening to that song on repeat at night through bulky, high-treble, tinny-sounding dollar store headphones, wondering if I'd ever be free from my screaming, drunken parents, if I'd ever get out and run far away and start living brand new the way I wanted. I wondered if I'd ever achieve my own self-made eternal summer, far from the wails and crashes that rang throughout the house every night... and maybe even find a love like the one Ben Gibbard sang about someday.
So Isabelle and I click play and wait with baited breath for it to buffer, which takes forever. Our eyes are wide and our hearts are frozen still, waiting. Finally, it plays, and we are swimming in four and a half minutes of frames of photobooth photos, black and white Converse All-Stars (just like the ones we wore, religiously), diners and oceans and car rides and hand holding at sunset... and a teary goodbye to summer and love and youth and freedom. I swear, Isabelle and I didn't breathe for those four minutes and 38 seconds -- we soaked it all in, the tragedy that fell so perfectly in line with how we lived, longed, and loved.
Really, in retrospect there is nothing distinctly unique about the sadness and longing we felt, at fourteen years of age, watching a story of summer love peak and fall sadly into our laps; it is what every outcast teenager experienced watching any similar story (or hearing)... except that it was ours. Us in our dirty shoes, with our dirty hair, viewing a girl lose a boy through no fault of her own, and we think, better to have loved and lost, and we apply our eyeliner the next morning hoping, wishing, pining, longing for at least the chance to love and lose, or be loved and be lost. We were desperately trying to find our missing puzzle piece, our partner in crime, our hand to hold as we weather every heavy chunk of debris the world wants to hurl our way.
Our summer vacations ended without romance. We did nothing more than see a few concerts and drink Mike's Hard Lemonades in secret and stay up all night and get sexually harassed outside of a Burger King on a thoughtless unsupervised trip to San Francisco. There were no long car rides with boys with their hair dyed black and matching chucks, there were no sad, teary kisses goodbye before boarding that Southwest Airlines flight back to Sky Harbor, from the ocean back to the desert. It was just us, waiting it out, wishing for some magic, hoping to eventually be seen by someone as beautiful. We had eachother, yes, but we still felt alone. You know, maybe we'd have a better shot next year...
We were so young and so sad, and I don't think I did our desperation justice.. it's just as well, I guess. I doubt she'll see this, but Isabelle, thank you for being my friend during such a turbulent time. I hope you've found your neverending summer.
(alright already, just hit publish)