“We will go. Nowhere we know. We don’t have to talk at all.”—Beck
In first-person narration, Carmen describes the girls’ birthday celebration. They gather at Gilda’s, with a birthday cake, candles, and the Pants, on which they’ve written about their summers. Carmen feels like she and her friends are somewhat separated by the private experiences they had this summer. But now that they’re together again, they’re becoming reacquainted, even though they still seem unfamiliar to one another. Carmen knows they have plenty of time to catch up, and that next summer they’ll use the Pants again.
Although the girls have spent their lives being inseparable, their summer apart has shaped them as individuals rather than as a group. The triumphs, failures, problems, griefs, and disappointments they faced this summer are theirs alone, and telling the whole story to one another would be impossible. The changes that happened are too personal, and the emotions they felt are still too raw to share. For the first time, the girls face a friendship that is more about appreciating one another’s secrets than sharing absolutely everything that happens. The Pants represent this close bond, which doesn’t need full disclosure to survive. As the girls get older, with boyfriends and college on the horizon, they can take comfort in the fact that the friendship doesn’t need daily feeding. Rather, this friendship is rock solid on its own, and the girls can count on it always being there for them, even if they have to spend time apart.