Find someone with the word “temporary” written all over them. (Don’t worry about it being cruel, you have the word written all over you, too, you just don’t know it yet.) You are looking for things that will melt down like the bottom half of your ice pop, something that isn’t going to get all sticky and messy with its permanence.
See them from across the yard at a barbecue, and wonder if it’s the fact that you’re two drinks in on an empty stomach or there are literal fireflies glowing around them, because they somehow seem to you better-looking and more serendipitous than anyone you’ve seen before. The way their skin glows just a little bit, backlit by the pink-red-blue sunset, it’s as though someone has misted them with a little bit of the dew you find on grass in the mornings. They seem like something that grew out of the ground itself, all centered and natural and primed by the heat of the season — the heat that makes every part of you long to open up and find something new.
Talk to them, propelled forward by this weird feeling that nothing can truly go wrong, because nothing actually counts. This is the summer, you think without even thinking it, it’s just time to have fun. It doesn’t need to be so serious.
Let the conversation pour out of you in waves and ripples and bursts. Be overwhelmed by their responsiveness, by how in-tune you have managed to become with the sound of guitar and other people’s voices all around you. Realize that when you touch their hand, just briefly, you almost stick together in the slightest little way. (At any other moment, that would have seemed repulsive, but the pheromonal glow that both of you are covered with only now seems to egg you on.)
Your whole bodies are already just the tiniest bit wet, and they are telling you to touch. Touch. Touch.
Take them home and let them sleep in your bed, with the windows all the way open, above the sheets. Let that day bleed into several, into weeks, into the entire heady month of July. Marvel together at how the days seem to just fall off the calendar when it’s hot out, how you can spend so much time with someone and never feel like anything has really changed. Summer love is the kind which rarely builds to a heartbreaking kind of crescendo, because it starts off so ridiculously infatuated from the beginning. The night you meet, the night you kiss, you are in love. You are in love with the freedom, with the water, with the overlong days.
By the time you realize it’s nearly August, everything has been a blur.
See that initial stamp of “temporary” — the one that attracted you to them in the first place — rise to the surface of their skin again. Feel that their time (your time) is drawing to a close, and that it is the most fragile kind of flower that won’t survive the first wave of even mildly cold weather. Wonder how you were able to pack in so many long days at the park, so many market trips, so many long nights cuddling in front of an oscillating fan, without ever feeling like it needed to go somewhere.
Normally you want things, normally you plan, normally you insist on a kind of reality that has a structure and architecture behind it. In summer, you just wanted to be happy. You just wanted to feel another body melting next to you.
Listen to them talk, late one night, about all of the things they want to do this fall. Feel yourself fading away from the conversation even as you are hearing it, see a whole life that will progress in the colder months for them that you could not ever be a part of. Remember that the person you let yourself be in the summer, the kind of freedom you allowed yourself, is not the way you usually are. Remember that things always must go back to the way they were, and no one who glows like they did the night you meant could stay alit under the pressure of the rest of your life. Wonder how you’re going to tell them that it was just for now, just for the summer.
But then remember that the seasons themselves will do it for you, that once the intoxication of the sun on their skin wears away, they will realize that they had been naked with you all along — and they will immediately reach for a sweater.