It was the first day of Swimming and four friends dangled their feet into a brand-new in-ground pool, becoming accustomed to the icy chill of the water. Jody's hair had almost grown out from its previous green fuzziness, while Jaimie's was the same as ever. For Starlee and Maxima, it was just one year among many; for their older companions, it held a special significance: It was the last summer of their youth. Of course they would make the best of it. Of course.
None of them could come up with any suitable ideas for the perfect last summer holiday, but that was all right, they would think of something tomorrow, and if they didn't then, there was always the next day. But in an eight-week summer there are only so many next days.
People had chores to do. Relatives came over. Families went away for the weekend. To the chagrin of her friends, Maxie got a summer job at the bakery. Starlee flirted with the idea of working, but decided rightly that it wasn't for her. Jaimie and Jody kept themselves as free as possible, determined to eventually find their vacation to remember.
"What are we going to do this summer?" Jody kept asking.
And Jaimie would say, "I don't know, what do Starlee and Maxie think?”
"You know Starlee. She'll go anywhere as long as there are boys around. And Maxie will go anywhere as long as Starlee's around."
And neither of them would think of anything to do, and they would get together at each others' houses, or occasionally Aviva's, or Leslie's, or Michelle's, and they would trade high school reminiscences over tea and cakes. And although this was entertaining in itself, Jody was still unsatisfied, and so, she suspected, were her friends.
This was their last chance to do everything they had ever wanted to do on holidays. But now that it was almost over, all their pipe dreams and fantasies seemed drab in comparison to their perfect getaway: The one they just hadn't thought of yet.
So they stayed home and went out and bought work clothes for Jody's new job in the fall, and new boots for Starlee, and they watched movie after movie after movie, and they tossed out idea after idea after idea for something to do that summer, before it was all over, and each one was dismissed for being too hot, too cold, too expensive, or done too many times before. And when they finally did agree on something, Maxie had to bail at the last minute, leaving her friends out in the cold — literally, as she had been planning to provide transportation.
And it was finally on one rare rainy evening in Hiding, when all four of them trooped into Jody's kitchen soaked to the skin from a day on the town with forgotten umbrellas, that Jaimie got the Neomail she had been dreading for six years, with news of her mother's death.
The service was beautiful, and Jaimie sang a song about love and life and loss. And that was the end of their childhood, the end of their summer, and the beginning of the rest of their lives.