“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was always playing in the car as we drove around in the sunshine and heat, me pointing out landmarks of my life: where I went to school, my favorite places to eat, the route I walked home with my friends, giddy over that first eighth grade kiss. He wasn’t a part of that life – couldn’t be, 3,000 miles away – but I wanted to show him everything, wanted to let him in, show him who I was and now who I wanted to be.
Jake Owen’s upbeat and catchy hit was just one of the many country songs on the mix CD I made prior to Jerry’s arrival. We listened to it – overplayed it, really – the entire summer of 2012. It served as the soundtrack to our summer and the start of our life together. Darius Rucker and Jason Aldean crooned in our ears as we fell in love. He never listened to country music before me.
When Jerry visited in June 2012, we thought we only had a week, but it turned into a life. At the start of his one week stay, we determined to do as much as possible: we went to the beach, we visited Niagara Falls, we showed each other our favorite movies, we went to the zoo, we ate all the ice cream and best food that Rochester has to offer. We fell in love.
At the end of it all, when our week was up, we cried because we couldn’t bear to let it go so we did the only thing we knew to do: we canceled his flight and announced to our families that he wouldn’t be leaving. And so that summer turned into everything… an engagement in August, an eventual wedding, house, and son; it’s amazing what love and a few years can do to you. The reminiscing can bring both joy and a touch of sadness: sadness that these moments are past, that that summer isn’t right NOW, but joy for what it all led to, the life that it became.
Now, we will always have barefoot blue jean nights. We will always have ice cream and holding hands to the “Evil Dead” on BluRay. We will always have an airport moment, an engagement at the pier. We will always have that summer… that summer that became a life.