It was an unspoken tradition that after every party during the summer we would all move out to the screened- in porch. The adults sat with their drinks, that they had been refilling since that afternoon. The kids ran out into the backyard to sneak a swim in the pool next door or catch the fireflies. It was calm and slow. These evenings were made of moments where that feeling creeps up on you and makes you think about where you are and what you are doing and how you will never forget this insignificant night. There will be a night like this a week from now and you will forget that one and the one after that, but you will never forget this one.
You won’t forget how your mom spent the whole day in the kitchen preparing a steak and then ended up making you go buy hamburger meat and hotdogs. Then one of the guests wrinkled their nose and the prospect of eating a hotdog and your mom put him in his place in less than a minute. You’ll remember why you are so glad you have your mom because you know she would do the same thing for you.
You won’t forget how nice the water felt as you and your sister and the boy next door sunk into the pool, hoping that the elderly couple that lived in the house would not wake up. There were races from each end of the pool to the other until you could not see. Then your sister got out because she was cold - it was just you and the boy from next door. While he was swimming, you could not stop thinking about how you have known him forever, but also how cute he has always been.
You won’t forget how the neighbor four houses down drank too much again and was telling stories that no one wanted to hear again. Her husband was trying to drink too much so that he could ignore the fact that everyone was staring about him. It did not work. Everyone was uncomfortable and he quietly shuffled her loose body down the steps of the porch and across the street.
You won’t forget how your aunt and cousin came to the party. She sat and talked to the other moms about her new stroller or something. As she talked with her fancy cocktail in hand her son struggled to open the door of the porch. He had been staring out of the screen for the past 20 minutes. His nose and cheek pressed up against the screen, giving him indents on his skin. All the little kids were running around with cans catching the fireflies. They were laughing and calling his name to come and join them, but he just stared. His mom told him no. You won’t forget how you showed him the hook that his mom had locked and how he reached up with his hands that barely knew what they were doing and pushed the hook out of its place. Then, with his head stuck staring at the open door, he grabbed the doorknob and pulled. His mom never noticed as he ran down the stone steps and into the yard. He did not look back at you and smile or say thank you. He just ran to go catch some fireflies.
That night when you were in bed listening to the parents clean up the kitchen, your hair was still wet from swimming, you had a jar of fireflies sitting on your nightstand, you had a plan to sneak into the pool tomorrow night with the boy next door and you thought to yourself that these are all the things that you will never forget but all the things that never mattered.