RV, having successfully completed his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School, is hoping for a great summer. He’s now fifteen years old and looking forward to sharing many languid summer days with his friend Bobby, who’s told him he has gay feelings too. But life and family and duties for a son of immigrant parents makes it difficult to steal time away with Bobby.
Bobby, too, has pressures. He spends part of the summer away at football camp, and his father pushes him to work a summer job at a friend’s accounting firm. Bobby takes the job grudgingly, wanting to spend any extra time practicing the necessary skills to make Latin’s varsity football team.
On top of everything, RV’s best friend Carole goes away for the summer, jumping at an opportunity to spend it with her father in Paris. Luckily, there is always Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher, to talk to whenever RV is lonely. He’s also there for RV when he inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets, and Bobby is so angry RV is afraid he is ready to cut off the friendship.
Bobby and I sat there for a while, not saying anything, just enjoying being together, feeling like we were watching the whole world but not letting the world see us.
“So? Was this worth the bike ride and the climb?” Bobby finally asked.
“You bet. I love finding special places. Like the place in the woods not far from my house. It’s a good place to think and dream.”
Bobby nodded. “Yeah. I discovered this spot when I came to the park with my folks. They just wanted to sit and relax on the hill, so I went exploring.”
“Yes, exploring is good. Where would we be in life without exploring!”
I laughed and gave Bobby a nudge. He nudged me back. “Now I’ve shown you a good place to think and dream too.”
I nodded, and we sat quietly for a long time, just happy looking out at Boston and being next to each other. Bobby put his hand on mine and it reminded me again of the first time he had touched me in the spring. The crazy, amazing feeling that went through my whole body. I know it’s stupid to say, but it was like I became alive in a new way. Even though that jolt of excitement lasted only a few seconds, I’ll never forget it.
It was great to experience the feeling again. Bobby’s gentle touch on my hand probably didn’t mean much to him, but to me it meant a lot, especially that things were good between us. It was one of those moments in life when everything seems perfect. Just the way it’s supposed to be. I wanted to stay there forever with Bobby’s hand on mine.
Then I remembered something. “Hey, Bobby!” I exclaimed, turning to him.
“It’s the summer solstice!”
Bobby looked puzzled.
“The longest day of the year. When the sun is exactly over the Tropic of Cancer. It happens every year between June 20 and 22. And this year it’s today.”
Bobby suddenly laughed. “Oh, RV. You should go on a game show!”
My cheeks were getting hot. Carole calls it the RV Blush. When I’m really embarrassed about something, my face turns bright-red. And I was really embarrassed by my nerd part coming out in front of Bobby of all people.
Bobby was still laughing. “I believe you. I really do.” He put his arm around me and gave me a little hug. “Being with you, I learn all these crazy things. That’s why I like you.”
“Don’t these long days make you feel good?” I said, more quietly. “Summer stretching out ahead. It makes me feel optimistic. Like I’ll have time to live my life, and not just do homework. Or chores. Or other things I’m forced to do. Summer is for us.”
Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. WHY CAN’T LIFE BE LIKE PIZZA? is the first novel in THE PIZZA CHRONICLES. The books follow the exploits of RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate the four years of his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.