There’s this older Dreamcast video game called Samba de Amigo. It’s essentially Dance Dance Revolution, only with maracas. You stand on a pad and shake maracas in beat to the song (the favorite being Take on Me), posing in various position to gain points. It’s ridiculous. It’s amazing.
I played this game with my friends all too often the summer before my sophomore year of college. It was a weird, in between time for me. I was between the person I was in high school – shy and meek, and the person I was becoming in college – more outspoken, more me. Tallahassee had become my home, but I was spending the summer in Orlando with my parents and high school friends. I was both here and there, old Lauren and new.
It was the summer where I worked all day at Borders (RIP) and went right to Starbucks afterwards, where I knew one of my friends, if not all, would be. It was repetition, a daily schedule, and it felt right. With this group of friends, I felt like I was part of something bigger, something enviable. We were still young enough to make grand plans, but old enough to know that they might not come true.
Now, years and marriages and divorces and successes and failures later, we’re mostly apart, living in different states and at different stages of our lives. We’re transitioning again, and I wonder who we’ll become next, and if there’s something that’ll bring us all back together again. In a way, I know there will be.
Because in some strange nostalgic sense, we’ll always have that video game and the memories of playing it for hours when hours weren’t important and felt much longer than they should have. It’s weird to think how much joy we found in a video game, and how it brought us all together. And it’s weird to think that when I reflect on that time, and my becoming who I am today, I always, forever, hear Take on Me and shake my hands in time.