Before I even begin to go into detail about the series of events which I will be recounting in this essay, I’d like to assert to my audience that I have the best friends a person can ask for. If I thought it was necessary, I could go into detail about each of my friends specifically; I would be able to name the reasons why I hold each of them to such a high esteem, but not even then would a reader come anywhere near understanding how important they all are to me. In reality, I don’t even fully understand why I have been blessed with such a supportive, understanding, and fun-loving group of friends. We share a very special relationship with one another. The strong bond that holds us together has lasted through middle school, high school, and will almost definitely last into the future for decades to come. The past few years, this past summer specifically, has brought us closer to each other than ever before and has truly set the foundation of lifelong friendships.
I feel that I can rightly say all this because we have survived a major test that friends face come the end of high school, saying goodbye. After high school, most of the people I thought were close friends completely disappeared. Some of them ran away to new lives as soon as they had the chance, but for the most part the friendships died because were were no longer required to be in each others company Monday through Friday. After life slowed down into summer and the dust from the mass exodus of people from my life had subsided, I realized that my friends who were left were actually the ones that had been there beside me all along. It didn’t take very long for all of us to come to the realization that life as we knew it, as fine and dandy as it was, had already undergone and would be undergoing even more of a radical change. By the end of summer most of us would be gone to college in other cities, too busy with work or some other obligation to spend quality time with one another on a normal basis like we would be able to then since it was summer. We made a promise to each other to make the next few weeks with each other worth our while, and we did just that.
The preceding weeks to the day when one of the dearest of the group, Jaime, was leaving to San Diego to begin his Marine Corp training were filled with fun. We sat around bonfires cracking jokes, right on the bank of the San Joaquin River as we watched the sunset over the beautiful Valley before us. Other nights, when the wind was too strong for a decent fire, we would take shelter in Oscar’s garage, another one of our close friends, talking until the sun came up. If we were hungry and McDonald’s had already closed, which only happens at the earliest hours of the day, Denny’s was always on the top of our list of places to go for a hearty meal with a good price. By the end of summer our usual waitress, Julie, had come to expect us like owls, going about our business in the very early hours of the day. We would come in to eat, always with a group of at least 5 people, usually including Jaime, Oscar, and some other friends such as Kenneth, Daniel, Mariah, Brandon and myself. It was during one of these late nights that we all decided we owed it to Jaime to have a big going away gathering before he left to San Diego. After deliberation over our meals, which always came off of the $2,4,6,8 value menu, we decided on a big trip to the beach. All in one night we planned who would drive, which beach we’d go to, who else besides our immediate group of friends would be invited, what time we’d be leaving and on what day.
We decided on July 16th, the Saturday prior to the Monday when Jaime would be departing to San Diego. The day arrived with much anticipation, and as my mother dropped me off in front of our designated meeting area, once again Oscar’s house, I was even more excited to finally be on the road for the short trip to Half Moon Bay. Soon after I go to Oscar’s house the ice chests, blankets, and other supplies were loaded up and we piled into our cars to head out for our day’s destination. After a bit of previous research online I found a beach I knew would be perfect for us to visit that day. It was right outside the city of Half Moon Bay and according to the reviews online was very secluded and beautiful. Being the type of people who like to go down the beaten path, of course my friends were all for it. When finally we pulled up to the small parking lot of the beach I will not name, at the risk of letting this hidden gem be discovered, our spirits were as high and bright as the sun that shone above us.
What ensued was one of the best days of summer I’ve ever had, but how could it have not been? I had the company of friends I loved, about 200 yards of beautiful California coastline enclosed by a crescent of 40-foot cliffs that rose from the sea like giant castle walls to protect our small patch of heaven. The entire day we ran together wild and free up and down the beach, in and out of the water. We had numerous games of beach volleyball, and a badminton tournament of grand proportions, which I can gladly say I won. We climbed all along the huge rocks that made you feel like a king when you reached the top because of the way the waves crashed behind you strongly without making you fall from your throne. It was our last day as one big group of friends before the first of many would leave us, and it was one of our best together.
When we returned home from the day at the beach, we had a dinner at Denny’s as usual, but this time we ordered items off the value-menu; we were so high on the simple pleasures of life money had no use to us. I don’t remember going to sleep that night, or where the day really ended, for all I know it never did end. We probably stayed up until the sun came up the next day in Oscar’s garage, said our goodbye’s and went home to rest and reflect on what life would be like once we all started leaving. Jaime left without any sad feelings from any of us, we knew he would be back. As the summer progressed my friends left one by one, but for each goodbye that I had to give, I knew in reality it was only a see-you -later. Now when we see each other the conversations have changed, we talk more about school and our future goals more than anything else. We all have realized we have responsibilities and lives that lie outside the normal vicinity of small town California. I know we can never go back to this time in the past, when we were looking forward to the future and what awaited us, we are living it now, more independent yet united as ever.