One by one, they creep through the enveloping darkness into a dusty shed filled with baseball helmets. This posse of seventeen-year-olds slinks through the shadows of the town where there is nothing. They’ve grown up making their own fun, as do all teenagers raised in this forest oasis. They have spent hours sneaking into forbidden buildings, desperately searching for a distraction until something better presented itself. They have drifted through verdant waters of lush summers, each tacitly wondering what lay in the murky water below the reaches of their toes. In the gloom of Januaries and Februaries past, they trekked down Main Street through snow illuminated by one, blinking yellow traffic light, discussing the tribulations of their diminutive lives and their dreams of the wider world. Together, they have walked down Main Street silent and dressed in black.
They love each other like siblings. They have endured their seventeen years as one and are bound tighter each and every time reality turns its grotesque face their way. These experiences have weaved their lives into a vibrant tapestry of memories unique to their insignificant town. These things have made them like family…a family of teenagers.
Where they once evaded eagle-eyed cops in pickup trucks to play hide-and-go-seek, they now find shelter in a dusty shed, their minds wandering the cosmos above. They routinely pile into their parent’s ancient cars from the 1990s and sail on balmy nights loud with the songs of cicadas and crickets.
They talk about their futures because there is nothing left here for this family of teenagers.
Soon, there will be no more nights that begin in the dusty shed and lead to breaking into buildings in the endless search for simple treasures—a film projector; a vending machine. They have arrived at the end of the hours inside the 1999 Suzuki, during which they are all connected by the feeling of the bass pumping through their bones. There will be no more bonfires by emerald lakes, no more lying in wild fields to gaze at royal blue and lilac heavens.
This chapter of their lives diminishes with every day. And, as they attempt to grasp at the dissolving ashes of a comfortable past, they will be forced to venture on into years of the unknown. Their fields will lay quiet. The creaking door of the shed will fall silent.
But, there will be other families of teenagers to come. And, when they have outgrown games in the dark, they will look out over the twinkling lights of the valley below and dream of their own futures.
There will always be families of teenagers from this forest oasis whose webs will be stretched by miles and years apart. However, they will always remember the place where there is nothing to do except push the limits of life itself. They will never forget their childhoods of unadulterated freedom—the days and nights that instilled in them an appreciation for something bigger. They will cherish the adventures that shaped their very souls in the town where there is nothing.