Summer, you were a flame.
You were firsts and fireworks. You were bird-watching and basil. You were honeysuckle-sweet with serendipity.
You were new friends and not-so-new sewn closer. You were days of sun dapples and a certain Lisa Frank-toned sunset I may never forget.
You were carnivals, tubas booming, goldfish gleaming behind glass. You were one concert that left my throat sore for 48 hours. You were “Tiny Beautiful Things” and two mind-blowing movies and too many bowls and bags of popcorn. You were goopy ice cream spooned out by the pint, then its richness walked off with aimless wandering.
You were so many different rooftops — both sparkly Manhattan ones with shiny cocktail stirrers and the crumbly Brooklyn kind, gritty and graffiti-grizzled. You were laughter and tears and sometimes both at once.
You were bare feet and sweat like donut glaze. You were fresh freckles scattered across noses and skies star-sprinkled. Gray skies, too, and rain piled on rain, refreshing for a moment. You were fire hydrants exploded.
You were barbecue smoke, cozy and comforting, stretched like cotton across looms of leafy tree branches and softly fluffed by the comb of the sun.
You were beach stones collected, settling softly into pockets, then forgotten. You were “shame” scratched in the sand with an oyster shell, where the ocean washed over to wear it away.
You were the terror of the Charleston shooting, the horror of the Syrian refugee crisis, the glory of #lovewins. You were some dreams crushed, some realized, some only just begun; hope stomped under heels, then billowed back out with the breeze.
You were sometimes like molasses, thick and sweet and slow, and sometimes like hot oil, sizzling quick. You were decadent with green and gold. You were lushness and life. You burned me in my weak spots.
You were a reminder that we can love what hurts: the way we hugged you close despite your fiery temper, the way we cherished you both because of and in spite of your intensity.
You were a challenge — to work harder and to rest harder, never one without the other. You made me bold. You made me tired. You made me ask a lot of questions.
You were breakdowns, but more breakthroughs.
You were so many sunflowers: in a New Jersey beach town, outside charming upstate houses, behind fences in Brooklyn. Sunflowers taller than my head; sunflowers open-faced and scraggly; sunflowers with light leaking through leaves and petals, basking.
You leaked light into me, too. You grew me, and for that, I am grateful. That’s what flings are meant for: growing, opening up, basking big, then letting go.