When you’re young, the heat lacks the oppression and marrow-withering evil that it takes on as you grow older. I remember our Texas summers were hot, but I can’t recall a moment under the age of 18 that I felt it was just too much to bear, which, unfortunately, is how I’ve been feeling this summer at the ripe old age of 30.
No, when you’re a young pup, the heat doesn’t deter you from spending a whole day outside. As I walked through my air-conditioned office, I flashed on a moment (though in reality, this was probably my routine for an entire summer) from when I was in middle school. Jen, my constant companion since age 6, and I would raid the kitchen, making ham and Velveeta sandwiches, and Diet Coke with lemon or lime, and we would head to the backyard with my parents’ old traveling blanket that smelled like laundry that’s left to air dry in a warm breeze. In those days, we still had a big tree in the back, one that would later earn the status of “junk tree,” but before it was hauled off for mulch, it was our respite of shadows in the afternoon heat. We had a swimming pool, but it had not yet occurred to us to be vain enough to worry about a suntan (that was probably the NEXT summer), so we would curl up on the blanket and talk for hours, the cicadas buzzing along with us, sometimes forgetting our sandwiches until the scorching of the day turned them into grilled cheeses.
I would give anything for one more of those summer days.