Toto, We’re Not in PQ Anymore…

Apologies to anyone who actually reads this. I decided to leave my beloved Lloyd (the laptop) behind while I spent a few nights in the desert with my closest girlfriend.

I’ve known Lauren since 4th grade. I was 8 and she was 9 and we had a couple mutual friends in common. Now, I’m 18 and she’s almost 19 and I’ve known her for more than half of my life.

It seems like its been weeks, not a decade, since her parents were together and she lived in her old house. Her mom used to give me extra peaches from their tree to take home. I used to help Lauren wash her dogs and when she came to my house, we’d venture into the back hills and pretend to “rough it.” We went to horse riding camp together. On (terrible) double dates. Middle school dances, high school formals, and college parties.

But sometime in the last ten years, we both grew up. She got a job and a boyfriend and a car. I got a job and a (few) boyfriend(s) and a passport.

And suddenly, we found ourselves headed for a girls’ weekend, something that would have been impossible  just a few years ago.

Lauren is transferring to Georgia Southern and leaves in 10 days. Maybe that’s why we spent the majority of the three-hour drive home reminiscing. We shared inside jokes and stories from our freshman year of high school. We ridiculed the people who peaked in high school and talked about the beauty of the world outside little PQ. We patted ourselves on the back for not getting arrested for cocaine possession and for graduating without having been pregnant.

Anyway, it just got me thinking… if there really is some defining threshold between childhood and adulthood, I think we’ve crossed it. And I don’t just mean turning 18.

We are at an age now when we can just up and leave and take a vacation. We have credit scores and loans in our name (meh). We have recipe books and mending kits and host dinner parties just for the heck of it. We no longer “hang out;” instead, we go for coffee or lunch dates. As my friend, Jordan, says, we’re at an age where we say “I’ve heard so much about you,” when we greet people. That’s an abstract way of saying it, but I think it’s true; what 7-year-old says, “I’ve heard so much about you?”

It started with trying on our mothers’ shoes. Then we were kissing boys and wearing LipSmackers and stealing dad’s razor to shave our legs. We bought new underwear (Or, true story, humiliatingly received it from our brother in a very public birthday celebration. Thanks, Conor.) and learned to put on eyeliner. We watched PG-13 movies and painted our toes in every color imaginable.

We met friends that passed on the ever-important knowledge about how to straighten your hair. We started tanning and stealing sips of tequila from our parents margaritas.

But before we knew it, we were stealing more. And replacing the stolen goods with water. We were TP-ing boys’ houses and breaking into apartment complexes to use the pool during free period. Friends started experimenting with new vices and we watched as people disappeared from homeroom roll call and were never heard from again. Colton Echuverria, Daniel Wark, Blake Pierce… people whom I assume are now behind bars or living in half-way houses. And, of course, Chase Manson (R.I.P), who Lauren and I were honestly never huge fans of, though we  wouldn’t ever wish him harm.

Life changed, kids grew up.

Its funny.. sometimes when I see people who I knew in middle school, I don’t see them as the 20-somethings they are now. I see the baby faces and the zits and the awkwardness that they were. Certain people will forever be 12, regardless of how many muscles or cup sizes they’ve grown.

I don’t know if there’s any cohesive argument I’m trying to make, honestly. More of an observation. We’re no longer kids. The time flew and its only picking up speed.

My best friend and I are no longer children. We’re both 3,000 miles from home, learning to figure things out independently and struggling to navigate the dreaded “real world.”

Because of the way my school works, this summer is my last true summer. From now on, the longest I’ll be spending in PQ is 2 weeks. From now on, I will forever be a guest in the house I grew up in. My senior picture hangs in the dining room and evidence of my existence is sprinkled throughout the house, but it is no longer my home.

PQ and the greater San Diego area are absolutely stunning. It was the most wonderful place to spend my childhood. But, like I said, I’ve crossed that delicate threshold between childhood and adulthood. And now I have a new home.