Like most people, I hated high school. The spring of 1999 was mostly uneventful. I minded my business the best I could as I served out the rest of my time. I went to prom with some douche from one of the boys’ high schools in the area who I met on the internet back in the good old days of AOL on 28k dialup. The music was terrible, the girls were bitchy, and I never heard from him again. (My dress was fabulous, though. Lavender was big that year, but mine was a gorgeous, Pepsi can blue. Man, I love that color. In fact, it’s the same color as the sash on the wedding dress I just ordered.) In June, I graduated and never looked back. That was the summer I was seventeen.
The first thing that happened that summer was my college orientation, where I met some people who are still my friends today. We’re scattered all over the world nowadays, from Vegas to Cleveland to Denmark, so it’s not quite the same, but at the time, it was awesome. For the first time in a long time, I had actual friends who weren’t just school friends or occasional on-the-weekend friends, but lifetime friends. Of course, it was because of this crew and our shenanigans that summer that my much-hated curfew was instituted. I’d been practically a hermit throughout high school, so it had never been necessary before.
That was the third summer I worked at the Dairy Queen, and the first time I ever quit a job. I did not handle it well, but what seventeen-year-old does? I kept getting scheduled for shifts I couldn’t take, so one day I called in for my shift and said I was never coming back. The owner even stopped talking to my aunts for several years over it, even though they’d all grown up together. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who could act like a seventeen-year-old.
August brought the end of the summer. It was a very big month for me. I started college, and even though I was a commuter student who still lived at home with my parents, it was a big change for me. I started the ROTC program, which is where I had my scholarship and how I even decided on my college in the first place. The Army didn’t stick, but I stayed at the school anyway. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different if I hadn’t made that choice, but I’m glad I did. That first semester, as the summer ended, I got an internship with the man who is now my boss; I guess that was a pretty good investment of my time.
The day after Labor Day, I met the man who is now my fiancÃ©. He was dating my friend Lyn at the time; we were both wearing the same cheap-ass red, white, and blue Payless sneakers when we met. We became friends and were friends for a long time, long after Lyn disappeared. And now, well, I’m not seventeen anymore.