Last Summer

By: Kambria Whitaker

“I don’t love you anymore,” he said. 

“Parker, you don’t mean that,” I said, my eyes begging for him to take it back.

“I’m being dead serious Emily. This whole time I felt so trapped,” he said, his eyes as grave as his tone. “I didn’t know how to tell you and I was always confused on how I really felt.”

My throat was tight and it felt like I was swallowing the thumbtacks I used to put pictures of us up on my wall. My nose began to burn the way it did when we spent a whole week painting my walls, constantly inhaling the stench of paint. Memories turned to tears and I knew the moment I blink, they will come flooding out. 

“No, please don’t cry,” he said, “I swear I never meant to hurt you.” 

Of course he’d say that. Of course he’d try to convince himself he was the good guy, and I was the one in the wrong for what? 

“Why do you always have to be the good guy? Why can’t you just admit it’s your fault for not telling me?” I said, knowing I was slowly losing control over my emotions. 

“You were always so freaking clingy,” he said, looking anywhere but at me, “You always wanted me to be with you and you’d break when I wasn’t there. Emily, I couldn’t handle it.” 

“But you didn’t want to tell me that?” I said, beginning to yell, “Why? Why would you just not tell me that? Why would you just let me fall in love with you?” 

“At one point, I was in love with you, too,” He said. I watched as his body language changed from a confident demeanor to a puppy with its tail tucked between its legs. 

“Do you remember last summer?” I blurted out. 

“Why would you even bring that up? You always pick the worst times,” He said harshly, finally making eye contact. 

“You can leave, I’m not stopping you,” I said, standing up straight wiping my tears away, “but just remember every moment you knew I was falling in love with you and you just so happened to forget to tell me you weren’t.” 

“It’s not even like that,” he said. 

“Then what’s it like?” I said, my words beginning to pierce the air, and hopefully his lungs. I wanted to take his breath away just like he did every car ride home that I looked at him from the shotgun seat and wondered how I could be so in love with someone. 

“I don’t know,” he said, and he truly did look confused. 

“Remember how we sat at the bank of the lake and talked about the future we were depending on,” I said, “Remember? One boy, two girls, and too many pets.”

“Yeah. Yeah, I remember,” He said, a small smile began to draw itself on his face. I watched as the harshness in his voice melted to the voice of the boy I fell in love with. 

“Remember the fireflies and sky lanterns at the park?” I said. He was silent for a moment. 

“And how I told you your smile was brighter than both of those combined,” he said. His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. “You really did look beautiful that night.” 

“All the polaroid pictures on the beach,” I said, beginning to half smile.

“That you forced me to take,” He said playfully. 

“You know, I sat by the fire that night, right after we took those photos, and thought about how one day I’m going to want to burn them.” 

“Why would you want to burn them?” He said, looking at me like I had just told him I murdered someone. 

“Because I knew one day, remembering those nights is going to hurt,” I said, softly smiling. He didn’t say anything. “I was so in love with you.”

“I was so in love with you too,” he said, sighing, “but things change. We aren’t getting last summer back, Emily.”

This started with me feeling hurt, feeling like I was going to be alone, but now there’s a feeling of relief that he’s leaving. I don’t need him. I don’t want last summer back. 

“You taught me things I never want to forget, Parker.” 

“Like what?” He said, almost as if he were expecting me to flatter him. He was always so cocky with things like this.

“You taught me how to dance, and how to throw a football correctly-“

“You still can’t do it right,” he said, cutting me off and laughing. In return he got a death stare. 

“You taught me how to cook steak and laugh when I fail. You taught me that some things are better left simple and I don’t need to stress all the time. You taught me how to be better. Mostly though, you taught me to trust my gut. I tried to ignore the feeling of ‘this won’t last’ which was my bad.” 

“Where are you going with this?”

“I don’t want to forget what I’ve been taught, but I want to forget you.”


Art Piece by Olivia Martin