In 1959, Elvis Presley bellowed from the radio. Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper did too. I was in high school and was dating Mike. He had lettered in Varsity football. He wasn’t the cutest boy on the team but he was popular and dating him made me mildly popular. When the school year ended, I began summer by lounging in the sun reading Nancy Drew. In July I started going to the lake. I packed ham sandwiches and swam with Mike. Summer ended with my parents annual BBQ. Cocktails, punch, jello molds, and hamburgers. School started again and I realized I had the same teachers and the same subjects. The same Elvis Presley songs were playing on the radio. The school year repeated exactly as it had the year before. Summer came. I reread Nancy Drew. I ate ham sandwiches and swam at the lake. The big BBQ came. I was back at school. Same teachers and same subjects. Mike was the same. Floppy hair and a varsity sweater.
“Mike, have you noticed nothing changes?” I asked.
“What? No. Life is how it should be.”
“But everything keeps repeating. Elvis Presley keeps singing the same songs.”
Mike shrugged. “They’re good songs.”
Summer came and the same Nancy Drew’s were in my bookcase. I went to the bookstore but no new books were out.
“Mom,” I said. “What’s happening? Everything keeps repeating.” I stabbed a sausage with a fork.
“You’re dead honey.” Mom sipped a Bloody Mary.
“Oh, honey you died in a car wreck your junior year of high school. It was Mike’s fault. He drove too fast and hard.”
I swallowed. “Will things keep repeating?”
“Until you’re ready to let go. You’re not ready. Should I try hot dogs at the BBQ? I do need to buy more rum for the tiki drinks your father created.”
I set my fork down and cried. “I don’t want things to keep repeating and dad made those tiki drinks years ago.”
“But it’s a good year. Was a good year. The year that keeps repeating is a good year.”
I looked out the window and watched the sprinkler shower the green lawn. Elvis Presley was on the radio. I decided that even if it was a good year I didn’t want it to keep repeating. Not at all. I shut myself in my room and cried. I pinched myself to wake myself up but nothing worked. Even good things shouldn’t last forever. Right?