I can’t be here—in this room, I mean. I can’t be in buildings. I can’t be anywhere but outside. It’s disrespectful to the sunshine to live between walls.
It must be my desert upbringing. It makes no sense, but it must be.
Winter never existed. It’s absolutely impossible that Boston’s singing sidewalks were once treacherous paths of ice; that these trees were bare skeletons of their current bloom; that I ever needed to wear thick-soled boots and a heavy coat. Winter is a foreign, distant memory. Unreal.
Back home, summers are an exercise in running from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned building. (With trips to Sonic speckled throughout.)
The days are so long, so quick, so welcoming, now—tumbling one after another like an avalanche of warmth, music, fruit, pages of a hardcover book. I stay up late because I can’t help but want to see as much of each day as possible.
Summer is the same, more or less, wherever you are. Quieter. Kinder. Slower.
I like to see how far I can run. Each run, a little longer than the last, I reach a new landmark. I take the T here all the time! I remember coming here once for class! My bike’s broken, as usual. If I have time to walk to my destination, I will, sandals toughing out cobblestones for that sense of understanding that only comes from physical contact with concrete.
I could never get mad at the Texas sun, even when it burned the leaves on our fragile trees. Not even when my seat belt would singe my skin upon touch.
I can’t nap outside, but I can lay on my back in absolute nothingness. Time stretches, turns, asks me if I mind. I don’t. Cars sound like waves, waves sound like travel to unknown places, people in boats paddling by sound like birds flying overhead.
I’m thinking of bolís—frozen fruit popsicles—shopkeepers sold me in my mother’s Mexican hometown. I’m thinking of the tiny shells my dad helped me collect on San Diego shores as we stepped over strings of kelp.
There’s been construction out on Storrow Drive, right outside my window, for the past few weeks. At midnight, one in the morning—jackhammers, drills, voices. My overhead light buzzes slightly, and I alternate my focus between the tiny buzz and the loud bangs. I wonder about the lives behind the voices.
I miss the clarity of the stars.
But it’s the same sun overhead. It’s the same star breathing its energy into the long days, the concrete under my running shoes, the watermelon on the beach, the tiny shells, the burning seat belts, the midnight voices of new creation, the city. This city. That city. The desert. This summer. Each summer ahead.