I’m driving home from my lover’s house when droplets of rain begin to pitter-patter on the windscreen. At first a hesitant drip, the rain starts to pour like a melted thickshake down a sink. It’s the first summer rain my dry little town has seen in weeks.

Summer is drawing to a close. The sweltering 45-degree days have melted into crisp mornings, the sun taking a dip behind cotton candy clouds. And as February draws on, the seemingly endless hours of daylight shrink continuously with each sunrise and sunset, the nighttime closing in ever too quickly on our warm upturned faces.

The cooler weather makes me nostalgic, playing songs like ‘Seaside’ by The Kooks on an endless repeat, and as the nippy winds nudge me towards my bed and the warm protection of my doona, I’m so conscious of the few weeks of summertime left. With new beginnings at play, it’s time to reflect on the last few messy months of my life.

Summer is:

A sunny morning haze, avocado on toast and Spotify playlists, mixed with sounds of construction as Dad and his friends work on building our outdoor room.

The taste of fresh fruit, watermelon juice dripping down chins. The almost tangible heat, echoing the sounds of chirping cicadas, static in the air.

Lazing in bed, piles of books begging to be read – feminism and poetry and memoirs (I find reality so much more intriguing than fiction). A rotating stack of CD’s, and Baker’s Delight finger buns.

Whimsical trips to Bondi with my dad, out on a limb adventuring together. Feet dancing across burning sand, and waves crashing, the ocean an athlete bowling our ten-pin bodies for a strike.

Glittery silver eyeshadow and untameable hair, nights of live music, free gigs, waiting for my bassist boyfriend backstage. Somersby Apple Cider, the individual cans of the 30-pack slowly disappearing from the fridge.

The rose-scented candles he bought me for Christmas, that permeate our evenings in bed, watching his scavenged DVD of ‘The Castle’, bought cheap from a market, and countless episodes of Friends.

Road trips through the mountains, and dangerously beautiful waterfalls, where the rocks are undecided whether to burn our feet or to slip us over into the chilly tumbling water.

A new beach each weekend, navigating dirt roads and unfamiliar towns.  I adore the view from the passenger seat, how he laughs when I pick all the olives off my pizza because I’m too shy to ask the chef to alter his masterpiece.

Pulling off the dark highway with my underage friends, using the towbar on Wil’s Falcon to crack the tops off our Corona’s.

Telling sex stories, laughing so hard, and trying to hide our drinks as we cruise the Maccas drive-through for “Two large fries, please.” “Is that all?” “That’s all thanks.”

There are only so many moments like this left – roaming our town where we are the kings and queens, free and indestructible – before our futures spin in entirely different directions, and we’re forced to make difficult choices while we’re still so young and unsure. The start of school signifies the impending stress of essays and exams and deadlines, school uniforms replacing dripping bathers, packed lunches filling our tummies instead of salt-drenched chips from the corner shop.

This shift is troublesome to comprehend. The freedom and ecstasy of looking at a calendar and revelling in the empty stretches of days and weeks to fill… how easily it all comes to an end. Our limited time together makes the moments we’re in each other’s arms all the more intimate.

As summer draws to a bittersweet close, all the adventurous days and drunken nights drift from the forefront of our minds and into the depths of our memory to be stored for a rainy day. Our memories are floating bottles in the ocean that will eventually drift to shore, like film photos, developed months after the shutter has closed.

Here’s to the last summer before adulthood.

Here’s to the year ahead.