I have the strange urge for it to be summer. I’m beating myself with nostalgia. I’m rooting around in my past again, something I’ve sworn time and time again I would never do. But I find myself remembering. I find myself wanting to go back.

Back to the goodbyes. Back to the parties. Back to stuffing people in the trunk of my car and watching them try to escape in the rearview mirror while cruising at 35 miles an hour. Back to jumping to the swimming pools fully clothed. Back to the last show, the last chords, the last mosh pit of the year. Back to keeping track of the parties on my forearm with a sharpie. Back to the memories and the picture frames. Back to the hats flying in the air. Back to walking across the stage, shaking hands and getting handed a diploma cover.

Back to $7.30 an hour. Back to riding roller coasters in the dark and puking up the free slushies while the rest of the world was asleep. Back to getting screamed at by parents who waited in line for an hour only to be told their child was too short to ride the roller coaster. Back to thinking the girl who went to school in Canada was cute. Back to B-Dubs at 1am on a Friday night. Back to praying for rain during an all day shift.

Back to trying to work things out with the girl I’d been falling in and out of love since high school started. Back to one last mix CD. Back to an awkward hug preceding the departure of a party I didn’t belong at. Back to not knowing what to do. Back to four years worth of feelings contained and expressed in 15 minutes with her lips. Back to leaving a letter on her doorstep that said we both needed to move on with our lives. Back to never hearing from her again.

Back to one last time around the campfire. Back to building something future campers will always stare at with wonder. Back to a Friday night talent show I knew the counselors couldn’t stand to sit through. Back to watching two of my best friends perform the most extravagant cover of “Hallelujah” I’ve ever heard. Back to staying up all night to listen and learn and share my life with my cabin mates. Back to leaving the only place I’ve ever really felt at home for the last time. Back to feeling whole again.

Back to falling for that girl from English class. Back to being the only one at her grad party. Back to sitting on a trampoline and discussing the future. Back to sharing a day at the amusement park. Back to screaming my fucking lungs out on a roller coaster you can see from space as she sat beside me and clutched my hand. Back to the Chic-fil-a drive through. Back to her feet on my dashboard while driving in circles around the mall at midnight. Back to the parking lot where I told her I was in love with her.

Back to listening to a new record every single day. Back to rolling the windows down and feeling alive while cruising down I-75. Back to searching so desperately for a record called Clarity. Back to the confusion. Back to being fucked up and not knowing what comes next. Back to standing on the edge of the rest of my life and not being ready to jump. Back to trying to see the stars behind the streetlights. Back to packing my bags and never looking back. Back to the end of everything I had ever known.

I wish it was summer.

joshua chamberlain is a writer and artist based in los angeles.

joshua chamberlain is a writer and artist based in los angeles.