The Summer of 1995

Not at all related to work this one, and somewhat a sequel to my post  Being you, being proud.

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?  (Chris Chambers – Stand By Me)

I am lucky enough to be able to say that I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was eighteen. The main reason being that they hadn’t changed from when I was twelve, even after relocating east at the age of fourteen.

The summer of 95 lasted a lifetime. It was hot and sunny, we were never bored, we were rich, I had a sports car and the beer flowed constantly. Music was the best it had ever been, Cast, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene, The Stone Roses, RunRig, The Presidents of the USA. This music rang in our ears all summer long.   Yes, that summer will go down in the history books as the best summer ever.  That summer we did everything. No boundaries, no rules, just freedom.

There were a good few of us, but mainly three (they know who they are), and then sometimes only two. It’s hard to take an eleven year old out drinking no matter how much they’d like to go. He did everything else though, and we didn’t mind having him along for the ride.  I wonder now what my eleven year old son would feel like hanging out with a sixteen and eighteen year old, I don’t think I’d even let him. But that’s different, we were all brothers, well, not me, but it always felt like that.

We spent our days in the fields and on the hills of the Yorkshire Dales, swimming in the rivers and sliding down the water falls, we drove for miles, we listened to loud indie music. The nights were spent in two types of places, the many local pubs, drinking the best beer we’d ever tasted or laying on our backs in fields watching shooting stars cross the endless galaxy above us. We drank ice cold bottles of lager until the early hours in the warm humid air of the summer, putting the world to rights, thinking things would never change. This was our time, the time of our lives, the time when we weren’t children, but hadn’t grown up, an in-between time, a kind of limbo where everything was here and now, where nothing really mattered but at the same time everything did.  We were on the edge, or at least I was,  balancing, looking, waiting.

It had to end, summers always do. I’m not sure I realised just what was ending when I left, maybe I did but didn’t want to know, maybe I only realised just now. Our friendships would remain, though they would become more distant over time. Certainly for me, the last remnants of my childhood were left in that field gazing at the starlit sky, that last shooting star in late August signified where it would remain forever. Perhaps for the others there were a couple of years left, although you are always as young as the oldest in your group. It wasn’t a bad thing, at least not for me, It went out on a high, we went out on a high.

We moved on, we have the memories.  Are those memories real? Is that how it really was? I don’t know and I don’t care.  I do know that I wasn’t rich in real terms, I’m not sure the beer flowed constantly and I doubt it was the best I’ve ever tasted. I doesn’t matter, but the memories do. Yes, the summer of 95, that will go down in the history books as the best summer ever. The summer that I made the leap, I left the edge, I stopped balancing and continued on my journey. But, I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was eighteen, Jesus, does anyone.

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