It was the last time I remember feeling free.
I was 21, and it was my first summer in Oregon.
I had a job — but barely. 20 blissful hours a week where I sat in the air conditioned Union Market, ate popsicles and blasted Bob Seger on the boombox. By some miracle I managed to scrape my paychecks together and pay for my tiny room in the attic of that house on 14th and High. For whatever reason, I was never worried about money that summer.
After my morning shift, I’d go for a long run in the blistering heat or ride my bike to the river with Kelly. I’d make us our favorite sandwiches that summer — turkey, tomato, onion and basil — and tuck a few beers or lemonade mixed with a little something into my back pack.
At night, it was still too warm to even wear a sweater. I’d slip on a sundress and let my hair dry outside while sitting barefoot on the front porch. Eventually, we’d make our way to the bar (it was inevitable) for cheap pitchers and tacos from the taco stand. Kelly and I would walk home, taking our sweet time and resting on neighbor’s lawns to look at the stars.
We had nowhere to be but right where we were.
Now, whenever the weather gets warmer, I get so nostalgic for this summer that it hurts.
Remembering that time is so bittersweet — it was too perfect.