Every year, in the week before summer holidays began, I would spent a lot of time plotting out my summer. There would be time at the beach, of course. A bonfire with my friends. There would be jumping on trampolines with sprinklers underneath them. There would be ice cream and fresh fruit and tan lines that grew more pronounced each day.
And there would, of course, be a romance.
I don’t know where I got this idea from, but I’m guessing it was from Grease.
This idea that no summer holiday was complete without someone to spend those lo-o-ong summer niiiiights with took root and turned into one of my favourite daydreams. Whenever my parents took me anywhere during the summer holidays, I would imagine my summer romance unfolding. He would be Greek or French or Italian. He would forget to put connectives into sentences so his compliments would come out as: “You so funny” or “I want spend more time you.” He would teach me how to dance the salsa even though he wasn’t Cuban, because despite never having danced a salsa or being 100% sure what it involves, I deemed it the most romantic style of dancing (an opinion I still hold today).
He would have black curly hair that was just this side of greasy, dark brown eyes that lit up whenever he saw me and a crooked tooth that made his otherwise perfect face a little bit more accessible. We would meet on the beach and make out until our tongues got so tired that we had to give them a Lucozade just so they didn’t start spasming with fatigue.
My holiday romance dream guy was the polar opposite from my every day dream guy: the blue eyed, book-obsessed, tall but sort of chubby guy who made me laugh all the time. But that’s the point of holiday romances that you have in your head. They’re not real life, they’re not even close to real life – partly because, well, they’re completely fictional, but also because you give yourself the freedom to be someone else completely different too. Holiday you doesn’t care about chipped nail polish or your essay on Greek and Roman mythology. She doesn’t give a crap about whether or not Amber and Poppy are going to fall out over their joint birthday party or if your netball team is going to make it into the semi-finals. All she cares about is the sunshine and delicious food and the saltwater in her hair and where her next ice cream is coming from.
And maybe it’s a good thing to be able to get away from yourself sometimes, even if it’s just for the few weeks you’re on summer holiday or just in your imagination. To dream up a whole different life for yourself and cast supporting characters that don’t even exist.
I never had a holiday romance. Well, not like the ones in my head anyway. My real life holiday romances were conducted with various people around my neighbourhood and even when they were happening part of me was already mentally preparing for the eventual awkward run-ins I’d have with them for the rest of my life. In a lot of ways, I preferred the summer romances I had in my head – sure they were short-lived and entirely fictional but that didn’t stop them from being fun to dream up… and isn’t that all that matters?