The Definitions of Summer

A bead of sweat rolls down my back.

We’re sitting outside, and someone is attempting to strike up a conversation with me, but all I can think about is how Grandma used to say, “Ladies don’t sweat; they glisten.”

Well… I must be the shiniest, most glistening being under New York’s summer sun.

Dear Grandmother,
I think I’m sweating.

Sweaty, sweat.
Shiny faces, slimy seats.
Everyone looks like blotchy-faced zombies as they emerge from the subway during the morning commute. I pity the men, wearing their undershirts and button downs; their khaki pants and socks—Lord, help the poor gents in blazers. My spaghetti strap dress feels like one too many layers.

Humming, humming.
AC units and open windows.
I love the sound of fans—the white noise that silences a city. It reminds me of when my sisters and I would sleepover at the Erdmann’s house, and a ceiling fan in their playroom tucked us into our dreams. Sleep often escapes me, but in that house, I was always out like a light.

Food frying.
Sizzling, smoldering.
One staple of our city streets is the halal cart, serving up hot chicken and lamb with tzatziki-covered rice. But damn that smell in the summer, the heat wave of greasy meat that smacks you in the face. It’s too hot to eat. It’s too hot to woof down pungent lamb. Worst of all, it’s too hot to prepare food outside—where do you think all of that sweat from the man’s forehead, dicing up your roasted onions, is going?

Sunlight, stinging.
Never ending days and electric nights.
It feels like there’s more time in the summer, perhaps because it doesn’t get dark until after 8 o’clock. So we go to work, we go to dinner, and there’s still
more time. Time for ice cream, time for drinks. Time before the darkness gobbles up the sky. How lovely to walk home at midnight, knowing we squeezed everything and more out of each golden hour.
So yes…
The utility bills are higher.
Makeup melts in my room.
Candles melt in the apartment.
Bread is kept in the fridge.
Hair sticks to your face.
We sleep in sheets.
We take cold showers.
We search for central AC.

But of course (if you know me) you’ll know I wouldn’t change a thing. 

I wouldn't change the Bryant Park movies,
Or the fireflies.
The fresh fruit stands,
Or the brilliant blue skies.  

New York is viscously vibrant in the summer, and it’s during this season the city feels most alive—like a bustling, breathing creature, ready to explode.

Maybe that's how it is everywhere.
Maybe all warm nights are heavy with expectation. 
And how could you not love the suspense?