Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Summer Love Affair

From Under the Umbrella at Coney Island
I spent the summer falling in love again. All winter long, my lover endlessly betrayed me. There were long, cold days in which I felt only inches from complete despair. Icicles grew on my heart like stalactites. I was stuck in a terrible cycle of frigid sadness, waiting and waiting for some glimmer of hope from my dear love, some sign that the misery would end and we would once again experience the joy of renewal. No! My lover said to me over and over, you must endure pain in order to have gladness, feel agony in order to find elation, experience blackest midnight before the dawn of hope.

Finally the ice melted, the sun came out, and my lover, New York City, rewarded me with the most sublime summer anyone in recent memory could recall. A summer as mild as sweet as the winter had been terrible and cruel. The worst winter in decades followed by the loveliest summer I've ever known in this Master which is my city, the shaper of my destiny, my dear love and my sometimes foe.

I had braced myself for as searing a summer as the winter had been brutally cold. Planned my escape to some cool and refreshing clime. But the heat never came. We had, perhaps, four days when the temperature hit 90, but not enough of them in a row to constitute a heat wave. Nearly every day dawned mild and breezy: 82 degrees, crystal blue skies, dry breezes. Enough rain to make the flowers and grass flourish. And then more sunny days and balmy nights. We went swing dancing outdoors at Lincoln Center and barely broke a sweat. The Fourth of July required a light jacket. We dozed on the beach at Coney Island in perfect comfort. I opened my arms to my beautiful city, bathed in delight, and received its kisses, its embraces, its repentance. It said to me, "Forgive me, my darling, for the suffering you endured at my hands. To show you how much I care for you, I will reward you now with my bounty, my beauty." And so I did not leave. I canceled any plans to go away. As August wore on and school started in other parts of the country, the tourists fled and the town was ours alone. All the happiness I needed was right here. 

Now, as summer draws to a close and what is usually the best season in New York, autumn, comes upon us in all its glory, I pray that when the winter solstice follows, bleak and forboding, when the short, dark days are upon us, and when the north winds blow, my lover will remember the sweet carresses of summer and will not desert me again. I pray he will spare me the punishment of the previous winter, and show me how kind and how dear he can truly be. Please, New York, be faithful, be true.

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