It was 1 AM on an August night when we gathered on the football field behind our high school. I vowed that this would be the last time I drove through that stupidly engineered parking lot. I would always fail at turning into those narrow, perpendicular lines. And that night was no exception.
It was humid and you could practically smell the moisture in the air. Coming from the nearby woods was the unmistakable song of the cicadas. There was nothing particularly spell-binding about that summer night – other than the fact that this was the last night my high school friends would all be together.
The next day, people would start leaving for college. As I looked around at the old motley crew, I wondered how many faces I would never see again.
It had never bothered me before. In high school, I had a decent circle of acquaintances but there were very few people to whom I felt emotionally attached. Until then, I was ready. I wanted to go. I wanted more than anything to get away from the easiness, the familiarity, the monotony of suburban life.
The last time I’d sat on that sodden turf had been at graduation. And as we clustered together on that summer night, I realized that I would never be here again. Sure, I could visit my high school on occasion and reminisce over the good times and the bad times and the football games that were never really that fun.
But I’d never be in this place in my life ever again. There’s nothing quite like being eighteen and full of dreams. Nothing like being passionate and confused and angry all at once.
I had just gradated high school and my mom told me that things were finally starting to wind down. But in fact, everything was winding up. I could feel the potential energy building in my metaphorical springs. There was no telling how high I’d go or how far I’d drop. I was on the threshold of something new, something big, and only now was I too afraid to jump.
As I sat there on that turf, my mind flooded with everything I’d wanted to say to my friends over the past four years. The confessions, the random memories, the apologies for misdeeds that were long since forgotten. We watched each other grow up, and I realized then that I would never share that kind of history with anyone I’d meet in college.
But I said nothing. There were too many feelings and not enough words. Instead, I looked at the moon.
It was a cloudless night and the moon looked brighter than usual. It wasn’t until later that I found out it was a blue moon. On that particular night in August, the Full Sturgeon Moon rose for us. Apparently, this type of blue moon is exceptionally rare. The next one won’t come until 2015.
A lot can happen till then, but two years don’t count for much in the grand scheme of things. Take for example the transit of Venus, which occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. This event only happens once every 243 years.
“Once in a blue moon” is a lot catchier than “once in a transit of Venus” so I guess that why that cliché stuck. Still, I can’t get out of my mind how often I’ll see a blue moon in my lifetime and just how many times I’ll have to say goodbye.
We all go through stages, just like the moon. We learn, gain experience, and mature; and because of this, people will inevitably drift apart. With every passing phase, we might gain some friends and lose others. We might move cities or change jobs or fall in and out of love. After all, the moon knows her place in the sky but we, as people, are always changing.
But I know that in the future, I’ll look back to that night on the field, with the moon in the sky and the cicadas humming in the distance. And I’ll always wonder if I can ever go back.