Everywhere you go, you hear complaints about the heat this summer. You understand. You’ve walked out into the oven blast usually experienced by workers at pizza shops. Your shirt soaked with sweat testifies to the minimal movement required to raise your temperature. But when the night comes and the summer breeze washes your face….. well isn’t that just something?
You find yourself walking down the street with your headphones jacked to the strains of “Sorrow” by David Bowie – a dichotomy of lyrical lament set to joyful noise. While the girls flirt with their long legs, summer dresses and flip-flops, you breathe deeply and feel the residual stress of the thump thump thump of office deadlines fading into the evening’s cacophony of splattered rays of light.
The mischievous hide-and-seek street lamps peek through tree leaves, highlighting the lush greenery that frames the little shops and cafés. And you’re lost. Completely lost in the invitation of it all.
You pass the little jazz club with its wide open doors and flickering candlelight. If you were dressed in something a little more snooty than cargo shorts and a T you’d know your feet would turn into the place before your brain had anything to say about it. Inside, you see couples – some deep in conversation, others smiling, their hands flitting back and forth on the table, occasionally touching. Their eyes betray their hopes. “Will she let me kiss her? ” In the far corner, far from the flickering candles, one couple has completed their dance and are now obsessed with discovering the depths of each others’ mouths.
You’re amazed that you caught all of that in the two seconds it took to go past the place.
As you continue down the street, a perfumed note tickles your noise, catapulting you back to an earlier summer, when you flirted with the actress at the party. You smile as you remember her caress and the way her eyes flashed when you both snuck out and spent the entire night roaming the city streets. Talking, holding hands, occasionally stopping to kiss.
She’s long gone now, and you’ve heard that she got married, out there far in the west of Canada. The memory, and the perfume that provoked it, remain.
You can’t help noticing the pace of the summer night. No one seems to be in any particular hurry. Not even the lady selling roses. Or the fortune-teller relaxed by the side of the street, waiting for giggling girls to stop by and pay their money, just to find out about their chances for romance. Your hunger to capture it all leads you to take dozens of pictures with your point and shoot camera. It doesn’t matter that only a small few turned out. The walk itself was the joy. Some things can only be appreciated in the moment. And perhaps later on, in a blog.
You wander on, drinking in the night. And briefly your mind wanders back to the middle of January.
No one sauntered anywhere, then. They scurried, shivering, from their door to the car, and from the car to the store. Quickly. There were no smiles. There were no conversations or necking couples or invitations from the wide open doors of clubs. The lights on the tiny streets illuminated nothing except the dirty snow, and the wisps of car exhaust. Anyone unfortunate to walk was so bundled in layers it was almost impossible to determine anyone’s sex. Fortunately some of them wore pink. So there was that, you supposed.
Flirting was for fools, the provenance of the desperate and foolish. Conversations were quick and to the point.
“How are you?”
“Fine. See you later.”
Everyone got it. Even the bums looking for spare change got it. You remember walking past a few of them, as they sat shivering on the corner. You were aware of the scam, and knew that they made their biggest hauls during the coldest and wettest times of the year.
“Spareanychangemister? No? ThankyouandGodbless” They flung their words at you, hoping that they’d snag at your scarf and reel you in by your guilt.
You shiver suddenly, and just like that your mind returns to the present. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, on the breezy and cozy and perfumed summer night, you remember how much you truly hate winter. You vow never to curse the heat.
Your appreciation of summer, and of this night becomes overwhelming. You kind of wish it would never end.