10 June 2008

On Summer

The phone rang today while I was still sprawled across my bed, squinting up at the dimpled ceiling and wondering whether being awake was something I was quite yet committed to. My apartment is charming. Charming is another way of saying "without central heat and air." Sweat was just beginning to crawl across my ribs.


Hey. I rolled over and rubbed my upper lip dry on the sheet. What's up?

We hadn't talked for a few weeks. We used to talk everyday. We used to live in the same city and, before that, in the same building. And for a while there we nearly lived in the same skin. Weeks pass between our phone calls now, and there are many reasons for that. And now we talk about the weather.

It's so damn hot here.

Yeah. It's getting that way here. Summer.

I hate it.

I talked about the summer I walked half a mile to work everyday and arrived slick and red-faced and had to go to the bathroom to splash water all over myself to feel human again. He talked about the sick dizziness running too far in too much heat brings about. We talked about the weather.

Somehow I've always taken the weather personally. Winter is a challenge, an affront, as if the wind's trying to blow me away and prove me to be as unsubstantial I sometimes feel and as if the snow's trying to hide me completely. I love the way wind stings my cheeks and snowflakes melt against my eyelashes. I stomp off alone down the streets in red scarf and a black coat and argue my existence to the gray skies. I freeze my ass off, therefore I am. My breath smokes reassuringly.

Summer's different, though. Maybe it's all the heat-caused partial nudity. Maybe it's that the temperature around my body is so near the temperature inside it. I wear cotton skirts and men's undershirts and feel the borders of my personality fuzz. I lose the sense of where I stop and the world begins. I melt a little.

And I want to spend my evenings on a porch swing drinking beer and counting stars. I want to quit my job and spend my days climbing trees like I'm still nine years old. I want to dance too close to a jukebox played to loud. I want to wear cotton dresses and no shoes. Summer makes me want to drive with the windows down and without stopping until I reach the ocean and then run into the waves, and it makes me forget one or two of my many reasons for all the things I have reasons for.

Sometimes when I walk down the street on summer nights I close my eyes and feel the heat from the sidewalk through the soles of my three dollar shoes and the evening breeze against my neck. I close my eyes and feel we're all adrift in a great wide sea. Our heads are small and dark above the waves. We drift toward one another and away. The water is as warm as blood, and the moon is white and low in the sky.