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An ode to the close girl summer

Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

No items found.
Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

An ode to the close girl summer

Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

An ode to the close girl summer

Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.
Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

An ode to the close girl summer

Photo / Annabel Hawkins

Before this summer, I was in love. 

I was a cool girl with a crush who shared things like holidays, and cookbooks, and music that we both disliked. We had two keys that turned in the same lock and said things like, ‘we have this thing this weekend’.

We had all those things until the thing itself broke irrevocably, and I wound up in the camping section of The Warehouse after Christmas choosing between a single or double air bed while Robbie Williams’ Angels played overhead.

I buy the double for good karma and call V outside an aircon vent. She’s heading to the airport, getting on a flight. She’ll be there as soon as she can. 

The next day she arrives early, her car sacked out with camping gear and a UE boom playing Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. She walks through my door, and I collapse into her arms in a weak version of myself I do not recognise. We drive.

We drive to the healing sky of the north, where we meet our other women, who proceed to let me cry under a striped sunshade in the morning and over a cosmopolitan in an enamel mug at night. I feel like a baby chimp being looked after: pink drinks here, snack food there, Voltaren being rubbed into my aching back while another passes me a vape to hoon as the next wave of pain rolls in. A fellow camping man walks past at one stage and says, ‘you guys are crack up - you should film this and put it on Instagram’.

We sunbathe topless at secret beaches, lament the benefits of dating someone who could build a retaining wall, sleep in late and eat oysters on the sand as the sun goes down. No one talks of work or the city, and I want to stay there in that safe, soft feeling forever.

This is what happens when you have a Close Girl Summer. You become the most tanned you’ve been in your life. You hit on spearfishermen. You source someone to take a new LinkedIn profile photo. You discuss taking your Miranda-style maxi skirt back to the shop. You jump off rocks and take beautiful photos and mince around in your kimonos together.

The hot days come, and somehow they go. And eventually, you must return home to reality as life does that thing it always does — it continues on.

Things get good, then they get bad, then they get good again. Your neighbours think you’re running a Tupperware Ponzi scheme with the revolving door of women and wine coming in and out of your house. Wine. There’s so much wine. You could cater a whole wake and still have bottles left over.

You stay up late on school nights drinking in the warm light of your balcony, reading aloud horoscopes and matching exes with each others’ stories, eating chips for dinner and trading back left behind bikinis.  

January burns on, and witches continue to emerge into your ether. The woman at the Liquor King round the corner notices you’ve lost weight and are a frequent patron at her headquarters. ‘You look better, honey. But also worse,’ she says as she swipes your white wine in. ‘You’ll get there in the end, I promise.’ ‘Also’ - she adds as you turn to leave, ‘it’s time for a haircut’. You get home and book one immediately.

You become obsessed with the live version of Bic Runga, Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn’s Good Morning Baby and play it driving around Auckland with the windows down. In your vision, it’s the year 2000 and simpler times: you’re a boomer at a More FM winery concert in a racerback singlet, a slingback heel and a lanyard of pinot gris. You’ve bought your house. You’ve paid your dues. There will be a pandemic and a president in years to come, and you’ll have a lucky stack of memories to keep the fears at bay. 

Good morning baby, I hope I’m gonna make it through another day. 

February now, and during a late-night long-distance phone call with L, she says with aching clarity, ‘you get to 30 and roll over in the night and look at the person sleeping next to you and think: you’re either the love of my life or the worst pain I will ever experience.’ What if it’s the pain? You ask. ‘If it’s the pain part - you feel it in a way that’s unimaginable. And then — you phoenix.’ She sends you a playlist you listen to incessantly, eclipsing your More FM fantasy. She is with you everywhere.

Another trip to Liquor King on the way to another dinner, and this time, she really serves you.

‘I read this thing on Instagram, and I thought of you,’ as she pulls out her phone. ‘The deeper the pain, the more times you have to let go of it.’ ‘Good, right?’ Heartbreak is a poetry book that writes itself.

Your women stay with you, even when you think you don’t need them at all. They make watermelon salads and meet you on the rocks by the sea after work. Just all appear within minutes like a hens party or an emergency, telling you you look like Cameron Diaz in last year’s swimsuit and your old white jeans. Whether it’s true or not is beside the point because it’s them, and it’s warm, and you’re together. 

You talk about your horny trysts and the rules you promise you’re not breaking. They buy you glass vases and an afternoon at The Lost Spring and books by Korean philosophers. Slowly and surely, they fill your cup. They are your safety and your spontaneity. And even though everything’s ephemeral and everything’s changing, you’re comforted to know: there is always this.

March, now, and the air is changing: time doing its healing thing. One last sip. One last swim. One more of everything. Late one morning on the way to work, you realise you’re wearing jeans, not a dress and remember one of the rescue calls with your mum from the start of the summer:

‘This will fade over time. But it’s part of your story now. Own it. Work through it. Feel your way out of it. And when you do - you will become a bird set free.’

I waited, and I worked. I drove, and I walked, and I lay down in bodies of water til the currents rushed over and enough time passed to make my own way, to create my own secrets and to feel the enduring love of female friendship greater than any romantic escapade has ever taught me. 

Because when you wait and you work, and your women are there beside you, things eventually turn.

It’s a new season now. And now, and only now, have I come to know all of this to be true.

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