Everyone always talks about burning love and summer nights, of love giving you some kind of fever, and maybe it’s not just your own temperature that boils when you’re in love, but the world’s, too. Maybe the reason why we get so infatuated with the lifeguards and the cute waiter on the boardwalk and all the strangers we see when we skip town and go somewhere new. Maybe we’re supposed to fall in love with the summer, and we can’t begrudge summer loves when they only last that long.
Maybe they’re supposed to.
I’ve never had a summer love, but if I ever could, I’d want a love that starts before the sun comes up and doesn’t quit when the sun goes down, even if the days are longer and the nights are hotter and the air is heavy and thick with sweat and humidity and untold secrets and passions. I want a love that stays up late to see the sun rise from the other side of the morning, and we’ll walk home in the air that still doesn’t require a jacket no matter the hour, sandals making a steady tattoo on the sidewalk as we go. And we’ll laugh and stay close together no matter how much body heat makes us feel even hotter, and I guess this is what they mean when they say love is a flame, isn’t it? Because you and me, we won’t just smolder. We’ll burn.
I want to lie lazy and lethargic and slow, legs akimbo, sprawled over your body in a crosshatch pattern as we read on the beach or spend whole afternoons in the park together or even just stay in, the air conditioner buzzing and loud over your bed, our half-naked bodies giving up because it’s too damn hot out there and there’s cool relief here, now, with each other.
I want to know your body for all its edges and lines, all its sinews and the way it grows browner in the sun, all the ways it moves and glistens when it’s hot out and we’re happy and taking a day out on some restaurant patio for lunch. And whether it’s one of those lazy underwear days in your apartment or days we spend in nothing but neoprene and lycra — all the kinds of clothing that is supposed to get wet by the surf — I don’t want to be ashamed of my body, and I don’t want you to try to hide yours. They’re bodies and they move and intertwine and glow in the summer sun, and you’ll smell like sunscreen and I will too, and sea salt and barbecues and the steady thrum of temperatures above 90.
And we’ll decide to take a few days off of work — strategically, of course, near a holiday to really stretch it out – and get in a car or board a plane and drive or fly or just plain escape. I want to write post cards to your family and to our friends from far off beaches, and we’ll discover shells and languages and cheap food and parts of the country and the world that we’ve never seen before. I want to stumble back to a hotel bed after spending a few too many hours nestled on the beach, sing-a-longs to strange radio stations at the top of our lungs and the windows down and not a care in the world — not until we have to go back (and maybe not even when we do that.)
I’ll pull you outside with me to dance in the summer rainstorms, and we’ll find all the free concerts and movies and parties in the city, little pockets of celebration that the weather is finally wonderful. I want to know what sundress you like best on me, and we’ll laugh when we realize that we both have sand in our hair still, after all this time, like we took the beach back with us. And maybe you’ll freckle and maybe I’ll gorge myself on too much ice cream, too much lemonade, too much freedom and happiness.
I want a summertime love — an ice cream love, a love with and roller coasters and filling our weekends and half-days with the kind of adventures that kids on summer vacation might undertake, even though we’re long past vacation and aren’t given that sort of break anymore. So we’ll take it instead, and we’ll still indulge ourselves and watch as kids not much younger than us run around without a care in the world, and we’ll think to ourselves, if only it could be that easy, and we’ll realize it can. Because of course it can in the summer. Anything is possible then.
Romeo and Juliet had a summertime love; summer proved too hot for them and tempers boiled and no one in that city ever knew how to cool off. But we’ll have a pool kind of love, a high tide kind of love, and when the waves come crashing in, you’ll hold my hand and we’ll jump together.
I want to remind you to put on sunscreen and you’ll wince at my burn, and we’ll develop the kind of tan lines that tell the world where we’ve been and what we know and the secrets we discovered. I want a rooftop summer, with cold beers and good music and the best of friends, and a bonfire summer where we dance on the beach partially because the sand is hot and partially because something in our blood tells us that we need to move. Because maybe the whole world is in love when it’s the summertime, and we move with it because we’re just along for the ride. And I’ll sure be glad I’m in it with you.
I want a summertime kind of love.