Summertime means beads of sweat glistening on my forehead before sliding down into my eyes, so I wipe them away and I think of winter, the cold, the snow, and the ice. Summertime means driving down back roads to get places I never knew I wanted to be, while the radio plays Kenny Chesney but I can’t understand the lyrics. Summertime means sleeping with the covers off, this restless leg syndrome, the sweat finally cooling while I lie still for the first time all day. Summertime means everything is normal.
When I was young summer meant trips to the park, or running through the water from the fire hydrant, or sitting on the stoop watching the cars go by, trying to avoid the potholes on the block. It meant watching re-runs of old TV shows in my pajamas in the middle of the day. Yeah, the living was easy back then because there were no responsibilities. I could do what I wanted when I wanted, and smiles were free. Summertime was an endless playground, but even then it had an expiration date that I tried to ignore.
Then it expired, as all moments in time do, and summer became just like every other time, only hotter. Summertime grew busy, the time of year when I had to fit in all the stuff that somehow wouldn’t fit anywhere else. It expanded like a balloon and encompassed my whole world, squeezing out all the fun and all-encompassing joy of that youthful summer that died in due time. Sure, the living was easy, but what did I make of it to last me a lifetime?
So I live through the summer now, instead of living within it, this time that seemed so vacuous before but that was even then full of portents that I just failed to see, the sweat meaning more in this sweltering heat of time than it ever did in the silence of a dozen lazy summers.