Dear Summer in New York,

I’ve missed you. It’s honestly been hell without you, which is ironic (w.c.?) since most people consider heat to be hellish–fire and brimstone and all that. But heat gets a bad rap. People always say they’d rather be cold, they’d rather be freezing, but there’s nothing better than feeling your bare skin sizzle. And you’re the only one who gets it. So you can understand, then, why I’ve missed you.

Fall was okay, a nice enough distraction after your more trying days. Towards the end there you always put up a fight–as if you want me to hate you. Your warm grasp embraces the city from the ground up, locking in the scents and sweats of a city ripe enough to go sour. August is when people turn against you, angry at the smarmy subways, the puddling juices and festering trash piles, the air conditioning bills that rise in tandem with each tic of the thermometer. But not me. I love you and I love you and I love you. And then…you leave.

You leave me with a beautiful Fall, something glorious and colorful and distinct to this coast. And I can almost forgive you, even entertain the idea of moving on with the popular heats of the high 60s of September, October, November. But then winter comes.

I miss you then. This year, from December to about four days ago, it was a nightmare of polar temperatures, relentless rain, constant gloom, and the fear–nay, the threat–that I would never see you again. I forgot what you looked like. I forgot what you felt like. I forgot what the marriage between sunshine warm enough to touch and blue skies bright enough to finally justify those sunglasses I got at Banana Republic on sale was about. I forgot what it was to open a window or wear sandals or leave that blasted coat, jacket, and sweater at home.

I forgot. But you, you always remember.

And that’s why I can’t stay mad at you for leaving. It’s a toxic relationship, sure, but I can’t be mad. Because you go but you always come back. And literally all it takes is one day with you and that horrid, hellish winter when I resented you day in and day out–it’s all forgotten. Nothing but another welcome shadow under the branches of trees heavy with life.

And I know we’ll have a good time together, you and me–not a winter in sight. I still have those shorts that are too short, those lazy, billowy shirts that better befit someone without a professional job. I have the sunscreen, the sun hats, and the sundresses. I even have neon colored nail polish and a new pink lipstick.

I guess what I’m saying is…I’m ready. So please don’t go. Don’t be the tease you sometimes are this time of year. Don’t come and go, suddenly and without warning. Don’t trick me into packing up the coats and sweaters and socks just to disappear again. My heart can’t take it. I need you.

I need you like the flower needs the rain or the lion needs his lioness because he’s too damn lazy to get his own food. I need you like corgis need baths and retrievers need tennis balls and huskies need Alaska.I need you like Marvel needs to hire some women so Black Widow gets her own movie or how Hollywood needs to remember even Lost ten years ago did it better when it came to hiring Asian actors to play Asian roles. I need you like Ellen needs interns to tell her which viral video stars to have on even after their fifteen minutes are up. I need you like Donald Trump needs his spray tans and teeth whitening strips and I need you more than Hillary Clinton needs hot sauce in her bag* (*like a lot more). I need you like I need Hamilton tickets, but since that’s unlikely I’d even settle for needing you like I need the Finding Nemo sequel (even if I’m starting to need that less).

The point is: don’t go. Stay forever. You’re the mozzarella to my basil, the Goldie to my Kurt, the Ralph to my George. I can’t wait for the sun bathing, the food trucks, the summer nights, the popsicles, the brunches, the open windows, the bare arms, the swimsuits, the late sunsets, the garden parties, and the heat. OH THE HEAT.

The sizzle. The burn. The sunshine. The sweat. I love getting into a car that’s been simmering for hours. Or leaving an air conditioned building just to run into that wall of heat that sucks all the moisture out of your skin like an astronaut who opens their suit in space.

This is your moment, Summer. Your chance to prove once and for all that Fall is nice and Spring is sweet, but they ain’t got nothing on this bright, 90 degree kick you’re suddenly showing off with.

Even yesterday when I saw a family of cockroaches (so, like, one of those inbred families in the Appalachians you’d never want to run into) swarming a subway grate, licking and falling and dancing up each other just as excited to be in the warmth as me–even then, I couldn’t be mad. People blame you for the rats and the centipedes and the roaches and the pigeons all going berserk this time of year. But I’ll take it. Because you have to take the salty and the sour with the sweet. That’s just life.  So I’ll sidestep the rats getting it on in a lazy way on a hot June day and I’ll leap over the roaches following the trail of drippings from the ice cream truck. I’ll ignore the sweaty armpits looming eye level with me on the subway and the butt cheeks I see on display at Sheep’s Meadow. I’ll put up with the tourists in their cargo shorts and Yankees caps and all the traffic that comes with people fleeing the scene each weekend. I’ll do it all like that Lady Liberty and say:

Give me your BO, your AC drips, your clouds of heat rising from the subway grates.  The wretched refuse on your teeming sidewalks. Send these, the heat waves, hot and unflinching to me. I lift my smile beside the un-air-conditioned window.

So, even though it’s been awhile. I just wanted to say I still love you. And it’s good to have you back.

Sincerely, Shelby

(see what I did there? #namedropping)

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset
Me and Summer, in love, 2016

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