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  • It was just like any other hot summer day in the Midwest: humid; the heat unrelenting; the sun harsh. The air was still, like everything was suspended and not going anywhere. It felt like time wasn’t even moving that day, like it was such a slow day that it shouldn’t even count as one. And I was with Rachel and Lauren, just like I had been countless other such summer days in my life. It felt like the most ordinary summer day in the world, just one more among a collection of so many.

    But it wasn’t the same, and even though none of us voiced it that day we all knew it. Because even though it felt like time had come to a stand-still, it was too undeniable that it had definitely not done so. Today was one more in the quickly dwindling pool of days I had left before I left for college, breaking up our trio for the first time, well, ever; one more day that we had before everything changed for all of us. It was a dramatic way of thinking, sure, and maybe we were overly sentimental, but it’s not like it wasn’t true. But we didn’t like it, and we didn’t like that every day seemed to be increasingly tainted with this impending day of my leaving. It was like a huge, impassable fallen tree trunk that was directly in the intertwined path that was our immediate future, but we ignored it, looked around it, under it, over it, any way that we could ignore it for as long as possible.

    The problem was that once we accepted that I was soon leaving, it opened up a floodgate of possibilities to face: that before too long, they, too, would go to college; that we would not always be simply ten houses away from each other; that we would not always be so carefree in the summers; that we wouldn't always have the capability to walk around barefoot, blatantly ignoring any of the rest of the world's existence; in short, that life was moving and that things would inevitably change. After so many years of blissful camaraderie together, the prospects of change and separation were not the cheeriest.

    So that one sticky July day was a completely normal day, and yet it wasn’t. We goofed around, took silly pictures, neglected footwear and all forms of hair care, made endless circuits walking around our block—just like we normally would on a carefree midsummer day. But there was a conscious effort there that had never been present before. We all carefully avoided saying anything about what would happen in just three or four short weeks and tried to act like it was just another day when it wasn’t.

    We carried on trying to ignore the fact that things wouldn't always be this way. It didn’t change anything, but at least we had another day to be together under the sun in the way that always feels like home before everything truly turned upside-down.
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