Last Summer's Greatest Hits

For as long as I can remember, my life has been defined by the music I listen to. Be it pop, boy bands, rap, or hard rock, every era of me has been marked by what I hear. Most defining for me are always those summer hits.

They play on the radio over and over, they make guest appearances on your favorite TV shows, and new movies. The summer hit is completely unavoidable unless you live alone in the mountains. I'm always puzzled at the start of a new summer, though. What happened to last summer's hits?

I used to go to summer daycare, and Mrs. Browning played the radio for us once our parents left. I was too young to understand the meanings of the words, but they had their own meanings to me.

That one with all the drumming and the fast guitar meant Chelsea running up to me and saying, "You can be my best friend today!" That day, and forever on.

As I grew older, my summer activities were of my choice. One summer I took an art class at the community center. Mr. White allowed each of us to bring in a CD for one day for the class to listen to. I wasted mine with some girl band. The shy boy didn't waste his.

I didn't know the name of the CD or the band and still don't, but it was loud. Stark, in contrast to Thomas. "Wow!" I'd said. "This is really cool!" He blushed and turned away. From then on, he, Chelsea, and I were almost inseparable.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Thomas went to soccer camp. Chelsea went to Europe to visit relatives. I was stuck at home with a job at the senior citizen home. It was a summer of polka and emo screamo bands for me.

Chelsea came home first. She had a gorgeous tan and hummed tunes of foreign bands I'd never heard of. She'd attended a large music festival in Hamburg, Germany. I still have never been to a large scale concert.

Thomas came back the week before school started. He was…different. He walked to a tribal drum beat and had tinkling chimes in his eyes. Things were never quite the same after that summer

Last summer, I remember the song everyone knew every word to. I remember driving to the mall with Chelsea and blaring it, windows rolled down, laughing, so all the world could hear.

I remember exactly what was playing when Thomas showed me his room, early in June. A stereotype song about a boy who loved a girl. He kissed me for the first time that night.

There was also that time Thomas, Chelsea, and I sat on my roof, playing "What if?" and listening to the entire top 40 chart. What if the sky weren't blue? What if Chelsea could actually pass her driving test? What if Gabby and Thomas got married?

But of course, the sky will always be blue, Chelsea did eventually get her license, and Thomas and I will never get married.

This summer, Thomas and I never want to see each other again. He can't stand the guilt; me, I don't want to cry anymore. Chelsea keeps getting farther and farther away. She's lost herself in a world of hip hop, rap, and the richer side of life. Me, I'm stuck wishing that everyone else remembered the songs of last summer.

Still, like those old treasured songs replaced even older ones, new ones will arrive on the radio. Everyone will be singing a new song, they'll stargaze to a different chart, new love will be born.

I've given up the radio, but I can hear the sped-up punk version of oldies coming from my sister's room. Tracey, who moved in across the street, plays The Beatles on her bedroom stereo. At work, Michael works in the back to his odd techno mixes. My own collection of greatest hits.


AN- What do you think? This is one of my better works. I came up with the idea while I was mowing the lawn. Is that wierd?