Awaiting Summer


Summer is my favorite season. Not just because it’s warm, and I hate the cold. Not just because I still remember what it was like to be off school for months. Summer is just a part of my soul, ingrained in me. Perhaps it’s because I was born in the summertime. Perhaps it’s because I like to see things alive and growing. Perhaps it’s because – but no. Summer, to me, is home.

Home. Do you know the feeling of home? You’ve been on a long car ride, been riding for hours. Finally, you pull into your driveway. You’re so happy to be home, and your dad stops the car so you can get out and run the rest of the way. You smell the familiar scent of the grass and trees as you draw in gulps of air, and once you reach the front porch you collapse, tired, but so contented to finally be home.

Summer looks like hazy Polaroid pictures, blurry and pastel but full of happy faces. There are always smiles in the pictures, and you shuffle through them, grinning as you look at joyful people.

Summer tastes like warm peaches, fresh off the tree and running with warm juice when you bite into it. The juice runs down your chin and you laugh and try to wipe it off but only once or twice. You give up and let the juice drip down. Your face will be sticky but it’s okay. Summer tastes like cold watermelon that your mom cut; juicy, crunchy. Whoops, you swallowed a seed, and you spit the next one out. Your little brother tries to spit it farther than you, but he can’t; you’re an expert.

Summer feels like warmth and security; you tackle your best friend into a hug and stay there for a minute or so – your hearts beat together as you smile softly – it’s been too long.

Summer is innocence, childhood nostalgia. It’s the only season that lets you forget that you are all grown-up. Summer isn’t for grown-ups –  they don’t know how to handle it, just like they don’t know how to handle Narnia. As long as there are summers, you’ll never be entirely grown-up.

Summer is camping out under the stars; the night is so warm you can’t even stay in your sleeping bag for too long, so you climb out and sit outside of the tent. You have a fire softly glowing, just the embers left, embers that ate up that marshmallow you dropped. You sit in the camping chair and look up at the stars. They’re really bright, and you can point out a few constellations. There’s the Big Dipper – man, is it bright. Your friend climbs out of the tent too; they couldn’t sleep either, so they pull up a chair next to yours and you both watch the stars with the sound of crickets and a few frogs in the background. You grab your friend’s arm and point, look! There’s a falling star, have you seen one before?  You yawn, it’s late, and you’re tired. But you don’t really want to sleep, the stars are too pretty to sleep their beauty away.

Summer is driving on country roads with the windows down, music blaring. You stick your hand out the window and then your head; your hair blows in the wind and you laugh and draw your head back in, your eyes got a bit dry. You bump up and down in your seat because of potholes, but you don’t mind, it’s okay. You try to talk to your friend driving, but you get tired of yelling, the wind is too loud rushing through the windows. So you sit and sing along to the loud music and watch the trees rush by outside.

Summer is waking up to the sun shining, throwing on your jeans and t-shirt and heading outside to pick vegetables before it gets too hot. You grab a bucket and pick the squash first. The plants scratch your arms, and you wish you wore long sleeves but it’s too hot already, so you quickly cut off the squash and put them in the bucket, then itch your arms. You smell the scent of tomato plants; somehow, their scent is faint and not at all like tomatoes, but you like it anyway. One, two, three – those will be good in a salad for dinner. Cucumbers are prickly, and you pull on your gardening gloves before you pick them. Your bucket grows heavy, you’re done for now, and you forgot your sunglasses, so you squint in the hot, bright light.

Summer is thunder and lightning in the middle of the afternoon; you rush to the porch while it rains but your friend pulls your hand and you follow, laughing. Your hair gets wet, sopping wet and stringy and your makeup runs and your shirt sticks to your back but it’s okay, you splash in the puddles and blink when the water gets in your eyes. The rain stops and the sun comes back out. That’s steam, not smoke, you correct your little sister with a grin as you watch it rise off the pavement.

Summer is catching fireflies and putting them in a jar, keeping them next to your bed so you can watch them, and releasing them the next morning. You run after them in the quiet darkness and cup your hands together – careful, don’t smush him! – and drop them into the jar while your friend quickly clamps the lid down.

Summer is growth spurts and sun-bleached hair, tan lines from your swimsuit or your favorite shirt. It’s the smell of generic sunscreen when you’re in a crowd, and singing to guitar music around a crackling campfire.

Summer is all I want, it is my definition of happiness, and no matter what, year after year it never fails to disappoint me.

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