"Nostalgic for Next Summer" by Sophia Holme
We're crawling back toward the light. Periwinkle skies at nine pm, grabbing a friend's arm across the table because I'm laughing so, so hard. I dye my hair carrot orange, cherry red. I perm. Or cut it short-short in Louise Brooks style. Not to flatter, it didn't even really flatter Lulu, but there's power in disavowing face-framing layers. Short hair, bright makeup, big earrings. Lemony IPAs, bitter stouts, an overpriced dish of oven chips that burn my over-keen lips. Tinted lip balm, floral dresses. A friend's fleece because the night's colder than I thought. Learning and forgetting my partner's colleagues' names again and again in various beer gardens. Playing WhereWolf with a crowd of inebriated acquaintances. Endless evening walks, rabbits flitting across fields, ducklings waddling. Picking wildflowers. Thick and graceless tan lines. Warm winds. Roasting marshmallows in a friend's backyard. Smoke scented hair at work the next day. Calippos. Deciding to go to a 5:30 showing at 3:00 the same day. Leaving the cinema and it's still light out. Tumbling to the pub for a debrief. Coke Zero the cheap days before payday. Meeting a friend's housemates at an overcrowded table, buying birthday pints, wearing a bralette and a blazer and uncomfortable shoes. Slurping the dregs of my drink from the melted ice cubes. Running in the tart chill of the 6am sunshine, the fuzzy, muggy 8pm dusk. Embarrassing myself at exercise classes. Making new friends. Splitting an entree. Cozying up as a group in someone's bedroom to watch a movie. Shouting exhortations at the same TV screen. Rolling the same set of dice in a board game. Dipping tortillas in the same dip bowl. Drunkenly braiding a friend's hair. Saying "This is nice" and touching the sleeve of someone's shirt. Joking "Am I on Mute?" when you can't get your mate's attention, Calling separate conversations "breakout rooms". Endless riffs on this theme. Moaning all summer long that it costs triple to get as drunk now as it did at home. Relatedly, taking a steady couple of steps back from becoming an alcoholic. Still: overdoing it at least three or four times and vomiting in the bathroom, head throbbing at work the next day. Talking too much, giggling too loud, smiles that show both sets of teeth. Feeling cute and airy and open. Sitting bare thighed on sun-warmed pavement. Mr. Whippy. Feeling like the most interesting person in the world talking to someone who doesn't already know my three good anecdotes. Live concerts, comedy, theatre- watching people be amazing with no commercials or pause button. After work events. Author talks, performance poetry. Actually being double-booked for once. The rambling beauty of the conversations you can only have when you can get drunk at the same rate. Working five days a week, having something on five nights in a row. Doing my makeup in public washrooms. Carrying three days of clutter in my backpack because when I do get home I just collapse. Constantly breaking down from overstimulation but not caring, never learning from it. Crying over dopey shit, forgetting all about it the next day. Impractical clothes from thrift shops, neon flip-flops from the mall. Painted toenails. Beer on a blanket in the park by the water. I'm gonna chase this feeling until it disappears down the horizon. I truly and utterly cannot wait to see y'all again.
Sophia Holme is a writer, poet and bookseller based in Oxford, England. Originally from Canada, when she's not writing she can be found running, reading bit of several novels at once, and drinking a lot of coffee. Find her on Twitter @holmesophia.