Summer & The City
I feel her warmth before I see her, my body knowing when she’s near before her presence is truly verified by sight. Most mornings I curl further beneath the comforter, determined to stay rooted to the warm spot in the blankets that I’ve nestled myself into during a night of faraway dreams for as long as possible; my first facial expression as I force myself into the dark cold a scowl that contorts my face into an intense, displeased mask.
Today is different. Today I blink slowly and stretch, enjoying the languid morning sunlight and relaxation in my muscles. The sharp corners of my body are now soft curves, silky warm to the touch and soaking in the promising newness of the morning. Of her. I smile to myself, satisfied and content, because this is always what happens when she comes back.
She has a quiet, understated beauty that first leaves its imprints on your soul and then works its way outside, slowly but meaningfully causing the more physical, raw reactions that human beings, myself not apart from that, have to true beauty. My heart thumps as I shyly drink in the sight next to me and I can’t help but take a few selfish moments to affectionately study her. She laughs good-naturedly because she’s used to it; my reverent reaction to her arrival.
She doesn’t understand the beauty that she possesses and both the aching yearning and resurgence it causes simultaneously deep within my being because it’s all she’s ever known and she doesn’t take herself that seriously or finds herself uncommonly special. She’s just who she is, sunlight filtering through her body and heating every inch of her. The transparent panes of soft golden light pan their way through my bedroom window and attach themselves to her, beaming through her wide, eager smile and the eyes I know to be so genuine.
My chest aches because she is just that gorgeous and I know somewhere deep inside of me that nothing lasts forever, not even her. Eventually the darkness, the stinging cold, will creep back into my life as she fades further and further away, never in pain and never upset; instead simply understanding that her free spirit has other places to guide her, other icy souls to stimulate and hearts to revive so the beating doesn’t slow enough to leave them in the abyss forever. Selfishly, I want keep her forever and not let go when I sense that our time is again reaching its end. I know I’ll see her again, she loves me and I love her, and we will forever be gliding slowly together in this cyclical, sensuous dance, but I’m only me and when we’re together, every moment is so painstakingly beautiful that I want to relive it all on the same loop over and over again.
She understands as she playfully shakes me from where she kneels next to me on the bed, already dressed and ready for the day. Her wavy, golden-brown hair shines so softly around her giggling smile that I want to reach my hand up and run my fingers through it. I do, and she relents, collapsing onto the bed next to me but never still for too long.
“Come on, we have so much to do and a lot to see,” She says, catching her breath. Her easy grin betrays her hurried words and I lean over, kissing the tip of her nose, not ready to forgive quite so easily.
“I missed you,” I reply, trying to keep the whine out of my voice. “You took forever to come back this time, Summer.”
“I’m sorry,” She responds, and I inherently know that it’s genuine. I’m fairly sure that she doesn’t know how to be anything but wholly pure.
I sit up in bed, wrapping my arms around her waist as she leans into me, all large, concerned eyes waiting for my reaction. I can never stay angry with her for too long.
“It’s okay, I’m just glad that you’re here now. I love when you’re around, it just sucks that you have to go sometimes too,” I say honestly.
Summer smiles and I feel the heat penetrating directly into my chest, my body already warm from holding her. “I love you too, but you have to understand that I’m never really gone. Physical is only one realm. You love me, so I’m always here,” She explains, her hand gently against my heart. I wonder if she can feel how fast she makes it beat. “Even when I’m not here,” She finishes, extending her arm and gesturing around the bright bedroom.
We walk slowly through the city, enjoying the life, the energy, our feet against the pavement and the palpable vivacity that she brings to it. I marvel to myself that it takes someone incredibly special to be able to change someone just by the energy that they have surrounding them, but it takes someone with an all-encompassing range and true metaphysical ability to change an entire city.
I turn to watch a toddler break free of her mother’s tight grasp on her wrist as she runs, laughing delightedly, into one of the many fountains in the park. The mother runs after the quick three year-old but smiles as she allows her to continue splashing in the tall fountain, its clear, clean water probably looking as though it could touch the heavens to someone so small.
As I turn back, Summer grabs my hand casually, locking her fingers in my own, swinging our arms back and forth as she turns suddenly to fix a bright pink and white lotus flower in my hair just behind my right ear. I finger the petals gently, taking care not to dismantle the perfect way she tucked my hair behind my ear to hold the large flower in place.
“Where did you get a lotus flower?” I ask in amazement. “Those aren’t native to Chicago.”
Summer shrugs and we continue walking, the light in the sky seemingly centering directly onto our adjoined hands. I love our casual affection, even the smallest and most benign of touches electrifies me and alerts all of my senses. Whenever Summer is around, I’m always so much more aware of the tiny details that fail to catch my attention elsewhere. The smells, the sights, the light, the temperature, the sounds and the ghost of an unmistakable tropical-vanilla taste brushing over my lips as I explore hers are all things that I try to commit to memory and lock away deep inside so when she leaves, the cold can’t penetrate through me completely.
“Lotus flowers grow from the mud, you know,” Summer goes on as we continue walking amiably together. “It’s amazing how something so beautiful can grow from something so ugly. It represents purity of the mind and body, but I’m sure you already know that,” She teases and I blush. I don’t remember telling Summer that I study Buddhist principles when I have the time, but there’s a lot that I don’t vocalize to her and she just knows. She understands me even when I don’t quite understand myself. She recognizes that my journey never truly ends, my path sometimes slowing but never becoming stagnant.
We pause in the grass facing Lake Michigan, watching the tall trees rustle with a balmy afternoon breeze and the pleasure boats dotting the horizon. Even Lake Michigan’s water seems to sparkle when Summer is around, as if the lake is suddenly embarrassed at its poor, toxic showings compared to breathtakingly beautiful bodies of water elsewhere in the country, and tries its hardest to dust its slush and mud from its banks and be presentable when she’s around.
“How do you seem to get me the way that you do?” I ask as we settle comfortably next to each other against the large, twisted trunk of a tree yards from where Earth meets water.
Summer runs her fingertips up my arm as she cocks her head and contemplates this. Her tantalizing sweetness seems to emanate from the inside out as we sit together, her eyes lighting up as I lean closer, a deep internal need for physical comfort and affection taking precedence over personal space. When Summer is around, there is no personal space; it’s just her and I and, as she shows me over and over again, we’re really more one single unit, anyways. Sometimes it feels like she’s inside of me, living freely in my chest, and I think back to what she said this morning and decide that it was true. She always gets it before I do.
“You make me beautiful,” She answers back thoughtfully and I wonder how that can possibly be true. I don’t control her and she took my breath away from our very first introduction.
“I’m what you see in me,” She goes on, her face millimeters from my own and everything outside of the small area of passion and energy that we’ve suddenly created at the base of the old tree suddenly grows blurry as I’m focused only on her.
“If that’s true,” I start slowly. “Then you’re the most amazingly gorgeous woman in the entire universe. I see in you genuine light, positivity, energy, renewal, beauty…I can’t sit here and make a laundry list though. You are the woman that makes my soul smolder and me feel like the entire world begins and ends with you.”
I look up and Summer is watching me, her eyes never leaving my face. There is something about her that strikes at me deep within and all I can think about is our lips meeting again. Breathless, I try to hold on as I feel a cyclone-like swell sweep up somewhere down in my stomach and reaching all ends of my body as she kisses me. Slowly, the cyclone tapers into a hazy, warm sensuality; her gift to me as it gives my heart wings and lights it aflame, every ounce of jagged coldness from her absence long forgotten. There is just her and I, my beautiful, sensuous Summer, together breathing life into our city, quickening its pulse, and falling in love with one another all over again.