It's the middle of week two of Band Camp and I'm sitting in my room. Reading.
It's a funny thing, I spent three years in the Band, well over 600 hours invested in it. Now that I've graduated and am no longer in the Band, the feeling is….odd.
I knew that I would miss marching band. I've considered it a second family. Each year we spend over 200 hours with one another, usually from July to December. In those five months each year I went from the bipolar weather of band camp to the freezing December play off games and everything in between.
I have a million memories from all those people. But now that I'm gone, memories don't feel like they're enough.
I was recently on Facebook one night and looking through my newsfeed. A picture of a group of people caught my eye. I recognized that they were in the school cafeteria; where the Band spends an hour break during camp. Looking at the picture the first thing I saw was the Drum Major. He's holding a huge bag of candy and smiling. I can safely assume he won it in some game that the Band was playing. It didn't cross my mind until just now, but Freshmen are only going to know him as the Drum Major, the authority. When first met him he was a freshmen playing the saxophone who liked to push the boundaries on rules the officers had. Now he's the one making those rules and more or less leading the Band. I guess that's what they call irony.
Still, I look at the picture and see familiar faces. A hyperactive girl from the Drumline, the Pit Section Leader who has the heart of a saint. Then there's the Sousa player who complains all day but is still a good guy, then a few of the Freshmen from last year. Or should I say, the new veterans of this year.
Then I notice some things.
For the first time I see some of the rookies of the Marching Band. Even if you weren't ever in the schools Band, you can tell that they're new. They look so young, so….excited I guess you could say. With the exception of one boy, they several rookies have big smiles on their faces. You can tell that they were laughing moments before the picture was taken.
Then there's the one boy. He's smiling but he looks more like he's slightly uncomfortable. Like he's not sure what to do with himself or as if he was thrown into the picture. And good God, this kid looks young. You can tell he just came from middle school.
What got me from this picture though was that these rookies, I have no idea who they are. The feeling that hit me when I realized this surprised me. I think the word to describe it is being upset. I would never get to know these kids. Not personally. I still have friends within the Band and they tell me things, but they can never say "So and so did this to this person". Well, they could, but I wouldn't understand. If they told me the same thing and I was still in the Band, then I would understand without question. I wouldn't have to ask who those people were, or maybe even why they did it. I'd probably know them well enough to guess why they did it.
Camp will end tomorrow, and that will be the real start of a long year. I'll start seeing pictures posted from camp, and I'll hear stories in the months to come from everything that's happened during games, practices and competitions.
Hitting closer to home though, I'll be at the Camp tomorrow. On the last day they do a show for family and friends. The band has a cook out for everyone before the show. I'll be there sitting with my friends, but it won't be the same. They'll be talking about the past two weeks of camp and I won't necessarily know what they're talking about. I guess you could say I'll be out of the loop. I'm not worried that my friends will abandon me and I'll be kicked the the curb just because I graduated. What gets to me is the plain fact that I'm no longer in the Band. That I won't have that second family. That I won't be there for those Saturday competitions where we drive hours on end to get to whatever school it's being held at. I'm upset that I won't be able to go to the Band Trip with some of my closest friends for a couple days. That I won't feel thee nerves I get from watching a really good football game with my friends as we cheer on the team. There's so much stuff that made up the best three years of high school; and I can no longer do it.
Now all I have are memories, and that's going to have to be good enough for me.
Sad thing is, I feel like it's not.