McAllen Summer Nights

By Illyana Bocanegra

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I grew up in McAllen, Tx-a small border town an hour away from Mexico. When I think back to the nights I spent in the summer they’re cloudy and hard to remember-maybe because of the drugs or the overwhelming nights of mischief and wildness that I blocked out or because I’m older than I was and I’ve filled my mind with new memories.
I took these photos and they remind me of a time not too long ago when I had no “real” worries. College is an entirely different monster. When I think about the summer nights I spent in McAllen, I didn’t have to worry about major research papers for difficult cultural foundation classes, a job to wake up to in the morning, or other adult goals that take someone who is fairly responsible to accomplish. I value all of my life and mostly the time that I’m living now because I get to make my own schedule and do what I want to do according to how I want to live my life-but there’s a strange mercy to being a teenager in high school fucking things up and wishing and dreaming about a life that seems so far away. I spent summer nights climbing over stone and iron fences to get into a private pool my friends and I found at an apartment complex in some shitty neighborhood called meadow field or something. We lived up these crazy adventures sneaking onto farmer’s land to smell their orange orchards and driving around to see a city changed by its politics.
In these photos Michelle wanted to be rolled down a hill so Natalia & Natalia and I went to find one to roll her down. Adan, one of my best friends in high school, and I hung around our high school bus port skateboarding and climbing trees. There were lots of nights frequenting the Shipley’s doughnuts that was open all night and drinking chocolate milk and staring out the windows at the soft, green lights until they turned yellow like some kind of street evolution.
Summer nights are sweet. They’re nights to ponder and make playlists to. They’re nights to go barefoot and get to know someone you’ve been meaning to. They’re hot, humid nights to find a pool to swim in. They’re a feeling of freedom and carelessness and eternality. And they’re only around for a while until it’s back to the regular grind of ritual and motions.

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