i’ll show you summer in a tablespoon of preserves

by pieces of moments

My genetically tropical blood battles against the boney frigid season. Red verses white. My perpetually cold fingers attempt to find shelter in the humidity of my breath. It’s no secret that I despise winter. I am passionate about living. The far end of winter in the Midwest is staunchly about survival: combating revolving gray days, keeping Mr. Frost from nipping too violently at your nose, huddling inside, coiled as tight as possible to keep the heat. We’re different people than we were in May. Under duress one squirms to find relief, and wherever it can be found you land on it like a leach. Mine is contained within a few sanguine tablespoons cupped in milky-white porcelain.

I hold court at a particular café where I am as reliably to be spotted as the veggie burgers, or two eggs any style, or any other regularly featured menu item (I am unabashedly a creature of habit). It has become my living room because I still don’t have one, and the servers the familiar faces in a sea of strangers. They know I like to sit nestled in the corner (it’s the best place for a writer to sit and observe the surrounding scene, like a nature photographer hiding in the bush to take in the native animals in their natural habitat). They know I take an obscene amount of cream with my coffee, and they know I prefer English muffins rather than toast. This is a logical and crucial decision because English muffins have larger craters that hold more raspberry preserves.

The raspberry preserves here aren’t just any raspberry preserves; these are luscious, passionate, preserves. Imagine reaching into a barrel full of raspberries fresh from a summer field so ripe that they practically burst at the mere thought of being handled. Your hands are instantly gloved with the juice, and your fingernails will retain the bloodstain of their flesh for days. Just add a dash of simple syrup and you have these preserves. To dip your English muffin in such a concoction, to see the pectin caressing and adoring the wheat as gravity has its way before it disappears into your 98.6 degrees, is to remember what summer feels like on your skin.

That’s the thing about summer: it is dying to touch you. It wants to hold you, wants to expand your cells so you feel life pulsing through your veins, unlike winter who pushes you inside. Summer is a romantic lover that wants to shower you with flowers, rests with you under boughs of brilliant green, and floats with you down country streams. Ripping up your never-ending “to do” list and tossing it into the salty ocean like an meaningless message that no one needs to read, it offers you the Beach Boys, lemonade, cucumber water, and ice cream. Suddenly Nietzsche, Kant, Dostoyevsky, and Joyce are thrown overboard like superfluous weight and replaced with the lighter fare like the leisurely contemplation of an ant traversing a blade of grass, the gentle chimes of ice cubes, or finding just the right position to be optimally kissed by the sun. Joy. Bliss.

So, until summer comes back to me I will sit like a Penelope who has replaced her spinning with a spoon, and I will shove the red reminder in my mouth to allow the rowdy tang of the berries to petition my genetically tropical blood to hold on until all the flesh returns to the bones, and white fades back into green.

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