a [point] five
At the end of summer every year, I hold on. I wear as many skirts as I can. Style my hair in whispy, summery ways. Make every possible attempt to sport pink and yellow hues. A few camis, even. I rub extra lotion on. Lotion with tropical scents like coconut lime verbena.
Because I always get this feeling that I am never going to be warm again.
Night falls sooner. And waking up earlier requires more effort. When the sun hasn’t been up enough hours to warm up the world, I refuse to uncover myself. From my sanctuary that keeps the cold and dark out.
As the air thins and the vibrant sky grows more anxious to go on its great vacation south, I spend hours where I can absorb the last rays. I find solace behind my dark shades as I test the sun. Will I actually go blind if I look long and hard enough?
My senses prevail. Walking slowly between classes, I look up. Around. Thought stops harassing me. And I can taste petunias and smell dew. Hear the action of days when frisbees sail in the air and pages turn under trees. See the sky. And feel overwhelmed by magnificence. Because it's everywhere. I can feel it touching me.
I am smiling at the world as it is running to class and talking on its cell phone. I am bumping into people and reminded that no one else is looking up. I wear my shades so I can see. And see that all these other pedestrians are wearing their shades so they cant be seen. So they don’t have to look around. So they can follow in single-file on the right and stare at the jansport backback bouncing and speeding off to class ahead of them. Then I come back from my senses. And know that I left fifteen minutes early to walk and they left five minutes early to run. To class. As if four city block were just pavement. Just sidewalks meant to get all of us from our beds to our classes.
Then I walk more slowly and make eye contact with people to smile at them. To them. For them. About them. And I hope that they will look back. Not at me, but at the world. Hope that they look around and feel their surroundings. Maybe I'll get lucky and catch someone else enjoying the day. Only some look up. They notice me noticing them as I walk strangely like I’ve been set loose from an institution. The ones that smile back look down again immediately to make sure I don’t see their thoughts or expect them to stop their process. From A to B.
I’m stuck. At A.5. Barefoot and undressed in the grass challenging the clothed to step out of their shoes for a second. To look up. To see. To feel warm in what seems to be the last day that the earth will touch back. When its breeze caresses us. And its flowers float out of the dirt and tickle our noses. On the calm mornings that I saunter across lawns and the afternoons that I perch on benches etching the remains of summer into my mind.
I can truly walk now. Smile now. I can keep my ears uncovered and my skin out of its parka prison. Soon I will be looking down to shield my face from the frost bite of wind chill. Hats will cover my ears from the pleasantries of laughter echoing across the academic quad. Because when the sun goes down and the sky is penetrated by grey, even I look down and commit to the silence of winter transport. I run from the cold. I look at benches on the sprinty walk like statues in parks that used to symbolize something but become rusty and unloved. I wear black, and coop up with my thoughts during the hours that I once managed to allow my senses to guide my way.
Summer tries to hold on in these last days, and I hold on too. It will be months before I feel this way again.