Summer Memories | Teen Ink

Summer Memories

June 3, 2015
By BurrThistle GOLD, Jaipur, Other
BurrThistle GOLD, Jaipur, Other
10 articles 0 photos 161 comments

Favorite Quote:
Write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect

Memories are strange. Slippery. Their fabric alters. Sometimes soft, with blurry edges, shot with specks of brilliant light. Sometimes far too harsh with jagged corners, replaying truths learned in the past but deliberately forgotten.

However they are-Vivid or fading-there is always a kind of a perverse pleasure in reaching back and pulling one out. As close as we’d ever get to turning back time. Replaying a scene, living a single moment a thousand times over.


Drifting in, drifting out.


Very young, still scrawny and brown as a nut.
“120 degrees! It’s unbelievable! And its only just May”, said the American Cousin, who was, in my opinion, far too American.
“45. Centigrade” I corrected.
Far too hot to be outside. Far too hot to have any use for ice lollies (popsicle, according to The Cousin)
My mother had expressly forbidden us from leaving the house, but I had heard the ice cream truck. Distraction over sensibility, even back then.

Ah! This was beyond heat.

Nothing dared to move- the air, the leaves, the dust, the insects in the grass. Everyone sensible had already surrendered to the sun, scuttling towards air-conditioning. Quiet as a corpse. The stillness a thing of itself.
How odd it must be to see two children on the dusty desolate road, skin darkening by the minute. The ice lollies (orange for me, lemon for Her) melted faster than we could eat them. The sticky, too-sweet syrup coated our limbs. Clutching the change stolen from my mother’s purse. Oh, the sweet freedom of doing something wrong.


Drifting in, drifting out.


Older now, or at least I thought so. A decade after The American Cousin visited me, I returned the favour. Chicago. The city itself held little pleasure for me. All those greys and blacks. All the concrete and glass. 'Go Blackhawks!' embedded everywhere.  The summer here was so different. It was gentle, breathing life into the grass, the flowers, the people. Nothing like back home, where the sun seemed to beat down with the intention of beating you down. A summer that sucked the energy out of you. I missed its harshness, the blatant dislike of nature for us. Something so honest about that.

I had come with a secret intention. A summer fling. Seventeen, eager to experience everything.
First five tracks and I was in love.
First two kisses and I was in lust.
Over the next month, I fell out of both.
It took me five days and the same five tracks to get over it.
It was time to go back. I had become, in my opinion, far too American.


Drifting in, drifting out.


I lifted my head off the pillow, catching the faint scent of Him. Sweat, Cologne and Sex. A heady combination. 23 years on, my reflection in the mirror still managed to surprise me. My hair had dents from last night’s braid, I ran my fingers through it.


The air is laden with moisture. Heavy enough to choke on. No  matter how many showers you take with ice-cold water, you still felt sticky. Sweat collected under my breasts, made its way downward, soaking the waistband of my shorts. A rivulet down my back. Beads of moisture on my lip.

I glanced back at him, thinking about my parents for the first time in the week. What would they think of me?
My thoughts and desires pulled me in one direction, my tradition made me ashamed of my those very thoughts and desires. Wrong. Immoral. Unnatural. Maybe love just wasn’t meant for me.

He stirs, mumbles something in his sleep and turns over. I can’t stop my automatic smile. Or maybe it was.


Drifting in, drifting out.


Even while boarding the flight I am unsure. What if I am making a mistake? Going back to my hometown with a degree of permanence. My relationship with Jaipur was probably the most complicated one. Deep love and simmering hatred.
I can’t deny the sheer excitement I feel looking out the window. The beautifully barren landscape. Stark and unchanging. Ancient secrets whispered by the wind. I place a finger on the glass. My hills, my sand, my desert.

The thing that hits me the first is the heat. The smiling sun. I see red behind my closed eyelids, feel a feverish gust on my bare arms. Ah! This is it.

This is it, the city of savage sandstorms, blistering heat, freezing winters, filthy roads, crumbling buildings, cynical people and judgmental family. Yes, this is it.


Lovely to be back again. Lovely to be home. Lovely to no longer be adrift.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

Beila BRONZE said...
on Jun. 21 2015 at 7:19 pm
Beila BRONZE, Palo Alto, California
3 articles 0 photos 516 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain

This is truly deserving of its editors' choice recognition. There is something other and beyond in this piece of writing as a whole, a feeling and a sensation that transcend the words and images themselves. You are talented, obviously, but this is really something else. Maybe it is because the drifting feeling of the memories is so relatable for all of us. Beautifully, beautifully written.

on Jun. 21 2015 at 11:26 am
Ray--yo PLATINUM, Kathmandu, Other
43 articles 2 photos 581 comments

Favorite Quote:
God Makes No Mistakes. (Gaga?)
"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." -Liesel Meminger via Markus Zusac, "The Book Thief"

I love this- incredible work, Shagun. As always, I find the uniqueness of your tone most beautiful, though your structure and format too are both phenomenal. My favourite part was the 'something so honest about that' one, very beautiful. Also, it's incredible how you maintained your flow even with broken sentences. Plus big congrats on finding the perfect image!