Chapter 1 The Start of the Summer
“That summer changed my life completely.” Monserrat Villanueva Looked away from the interviewer and faced the camera. She let out a sigh before trying to fake a smile.
“You don’t seem too happy about that,” said the interviewer as she let out a laugh that sounded more awkward than she intended to.
Monserrat shifted her gaze to the interviewer, trying to ignore the shining light in front of her. “When I wrote this book, I was happy. Overjoyed to tell my experience – give my readers a piece of my life – not some piece of fiction. The idea of telling others about my experience and not some fabrication of my imagination, gave me peace, the freedom I have always been searching for.”
Monserrat watched as the woman in front of her shifted through the pages of the book she held in her hands as she added, “Writing this book did not feel like I was writing for someone else to read, but for myself. This book felt like I was getting something off my chest, some weight off my shoulders... When I look back and shift through the pages, I reminisce about the past. I think of that summer. I think of the summer that was like a dream that I never wanted to get out of. I think of the summer that showed me a life I was so convinced I would never be able to experience. But then the season changed. Autumn came along and I awoke from my dream. I was forced back into reality.”
After the woman found the page she was looking for, she read, “I was never able to forget him. He taught me how to be free. He showed me a life of carelessness and free of responsibility. He showed me a world where we were the only ones alive.”
The interviewer looked up at her once more. “That is quite the ending. Would you mind expanding on that?” Monserrat chuckled. “I have never met a man like him. He was my everything. With the short time we spent together, I made him my entire world. There was nothing I cherished more. There was nothing I cared more about than him.”
“What happened to him?” asked the woman. “You speak of him so fondly, yet I can see the sorrow in your eyes.”
“Life. You could say we were destined to meet but not destined to be together. We went our separate ways and lost all forms of communication. Yes, I never tried searching for him because I thought it would be best but there is not a single day that goes by where I don’t think about him. He truly made an impact on me and I will forever be grateful for the unknown world he showed me.”
Parked on the side of the road, sitting atop the car’s roof, Monserrat Villanueva and her best friend, Lena Castillo watched the few stars glistening above them as the rest of the stars were outshined by the city they couldn’t leave behind.
Monserrat pointed at the brightest star and said, “Whenever we’re not together, just look up at the night sky. Search for the brightest star and think of me.” Lena turned to the side and smiled. She pinched Monserrat’s nose as she uttered, “Look at you being so cute.”
“Tomorrow we will go our separate ways. There is no telling when we will see each other again.” Monserrat turned to her side to face the girl lying next to her. “We are not in high school anymore. We will not see each other in the halls or in class or during lunch.”
Lena brushed her fingertips over Monserrat’s cheek as she spoke, “Well, we can always stay in touch. After all, it was your decision to apply to NYU.”
“And? You decided to stay in Florida and go to UF.” Lena rolled over to the side, lying on her back once more. “Don’t remind me. I have a five-hour road trip tomorrow.” With sarcasm, she added, “Go Gators!”
“I thought you liked your school.”
“I do. I just don’t want to drive for five hours.” Monserrat sat up and looked into Lena’s eyes. “I wish I could be there with you but I will be on a nine-hour flight to Barcelona. I will be drinking on the beach. Who knows, maybe I take a person or two to my hotel room.”
Monserrat laughed as Lena sat up. “Putita,” Lena uttered as if she were judging her. Monserrat rolled her eyes. “You know I hate it when you say that.” Lena laughed. “That is exactly why I say it.” Monserrat leaned closer, looking into Lena’s chestnut eyes. She brushed a strand of Lena’s hair out of her face as she whispered, “I’m going to miss you.”
“I’m going to miss you, too.”
With that, Monserrat pressed her lips against Lena’s, planting a soft kiss against her lips. Without looking away from the beautiful girl in front of her, Monserrat whispered, “why don’t we break that bet of yours? Twenty-five dollars is nothing.”
Lena turned away. “You know I can’t do that. It’s not about the money or the stupid bet I made. It’s about finding the right person.” Monserrat faked being in disbelief. “Are you saying I’m not the right person?” Lena rolled her eyes.
“I never said that,” Lena clarified, “I just know you are not the right person for me. At least not in that sense. We are best friends and you are just bored. That is why I will not let you sleep with me.”
“Why do you say it like that? You make me sound like some crazy animal in heat.”
“No hard feelings, babe.”
It was the middle of the night when the two friends decided to go back home. They started up at the beautiful dark sky one last time before they climbed off the roof of the car. Lena got in the driver’s seat as Monserrat sat in the passenger’s seat.
Lena drove away, leaving behind the deserted road. They made their way back to the city as Monserrat played their favorite songs on the radio. Despite feeling that this might be the last time they spend their time together this way, they were happy to be together.
When Lena pulled up to Monserrat’s house, neither of them said a word. They just stared at each other as the minutes went by. Finally, Lena broke the silence as she moved closer, wrapping her arms around her friend.
“I’m going to miss you, Monse,” she said, “I’m going to miss you a lot.” Monserrat held her tight as she admitted, “I will miss you, too.”