‘What a fine weather today! Can’t think whether to drink tea or hang myself.’ – A.P. Chekhov
Three weeks after I left school for good, twenty-five Facebook messages exchanged in a group chat and eight texts doled out in the absence of Wifi later, a road trip had been planned for myself and a group of female friends. It was to symbolise the Last Summer: our final farewell to school, with the charm of gin and an Angel Olsen soundtrack which was lacking in the leaver’s dinner, in posing for umpteen photos in a lurid eBayed dress, thinking how much less gorgeous than everyone else I looked, and burying my pride in a disappointing chocolate mousse.
“It’s been a decade,” Jaya said as she arrived with Martha and Tess and the others in the road trip cohort that evening, standing in sundresses pulled over swimsuits, the car-park with the huge marina billboard and dilapidated blow-up cinema beside it looking suitably macabre for a adulthood send-off. “It’s been forever.”
“Since you’ve driven?” I asked.
“Since I’ve seen you guys.”
This was not accurate; it had been four days since our last reunion. But ever since school ended, this was how it was: impossible not to quantify everything in terms of forever. Two dollars for a bus ticket to the ends of the earth, please.