A boy watched 500 Days of Summer at 17 and the movie went completely over his head.
As a man, 26 years old, he couldn’t even stand to see it.
The first day he met her, he wasn’t prepared for what would happen. He thought the only thing he’d get out of joining the crew of the school play would be an extra boost to his high school experience. He didn’t imagine meeting his own personal Summer.
She was on the Sound crew with him, which was the first thing about her to intrigue him. Well, it may have been second as she was incredibly pretty. She and her best friend exchanged witty remarks and introduced themselves as his new family. He was intimidated by them though, so he sticked with the other outcast on the crew for those first few meetings.
Soon enough he was stuck talking to the girl and she didn’t seem to have any qualms talking to him. She was a junior, a theater veteran, and a self proclaimed nerd. He wanted to know more and it surprised him when she seemed to return that desire. When they’d be alone the air was thick with a kind of tension. The days went by and they became closer and he fell for her so quickly. It was less than a month when he was convinced that she was the one he’d always dreamed of. The girl he’d wished his past girlfriends could be.
But there was always a drawback with these things and this time it came from his own subconscious. She deserved so much better than him, being beautiful and funny. And he was leaving for a military program second semester that would take him 4 hours away. There was no chance but the dreamer inside of him had to take it.
He didn’t want it to happen the way it did but a few awkward text messages in and she knew. She didn’t turn him down right away which was probably more torture than plain being rejected. Their dynamic significantly changed in the next couple weeks. She was openly flirting and he was confused and there was something in the air other than the normal tension. He would go home at night and imagine the feeling of her lips on his and wonder what or who she was thinking of.
Eventually he found out. Confronting her over text, she told him she returned the feeling but there was problems. She revealed her feelings for another guy and his hopes were momentarily crushed. Then she said it was for his benefit that she couldn’t date him. She didn’t want him to have to be a second choice. He made his mind and life went on until the final show of the play.
She wanted to take a walk. The school was empty on the weekend and it was dark and he knew what he wanted to do. She was close and he warned her and then he went for it. She kissed back and the tension lightened a bit and he filled with hope. But when he broke the kiss there was an open guilt and discomfort in her expression. She told him that she couldn’t and he told her that being a second choice didn’t bother him as long as her feelings were real. She told him that his leaving soon was too much and then she walked away.
It was over a month before they talked again. It was nearing New Years and she was planning a party. By some miracle she decided to invite him. In another stroke of bad luck she told him he could bring a date. He almost skipped it but the chance to see her and really talk to her was too much to pass up. He went and hated every second of it. She was the princess of the party, talking to everyone. Everyone but him.
A few hours later he found out why. Right at midnight she turned to this guy he’d never seen before and planted one on him. Her friends cheered and he knew that that was why she’d avoided him. She knew he still had feelings. He wouldn’t have shown up otherwise. He left he party expecting and hoping never to hear from her again.
But he saw her. In the hallways laughing with her friends, holding hands with the guy from the party. It made his heart hurt and he needed to let go. Eventually he didn’t have a choice. Exams ended the semester and his time as a student at that school. He said his goodbyes to his friends and figured that would be it. He was to leave in two days. But she texted him that day asking to meet. He was weak and he picked her up from her friends house at 6 pm.
He asked her where they should go and she asked him to go to his place. His parents weren’t home so this seemed ideal. They went there and she didn’t waste any time. She kissed him and he kissed her and the kisses turned into other things and the night turned out to be so much more than he expected. And in the morning he wondered how someone so beautiful could have wanted him. When it was time for her to leave she kissed him and made him promise to keep in touch. The moment was one of triumph and bitterness. He’d finally got her, just in time to lose her again. Still, the relief of their tension was tremendous.
She contacted him every few months. He heard about graduation and her transition to college and her dreams of teaching. She heard about military life and the training he received and the friends he made and in those fleeting letters and emails he found a place to turn to when he couldnt stand the life he’d been given. This girl, the ghost of his past haunted him for four years.
They were both home for Christmas, in their old town. They ran into each other at a grocery store in his neighborhood. Here the ghost was so real. She was flesh and blood and beautiful as ever. It was odd, she looked like such a woman. They were both adults and now the tension returned stronger. He’d pictured this moment so many times and here it was and it was disappointing to say the least. She treated him like an old acquaintance, someone she’d simply gone to school with, not the person she lost her virginity to.
As they were talking about current life her phone rang. She took the call and left afterwards, giving him her phone number. He promised to call and never did.
He had held on to a ghost for too long. That woman in the store was a completely different person than the one from high school. And as he looked back there was always a shadow over his memories of her. She had used him and led him on and controlled his emotions. She was his Summer.
It was time to find Autumn.