* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are enduring the misery that is winter by thinking back fondly on the joy that was summer. Please join Karen Gilmore as she indulges in the same nostalgic pastime.

Dear Summer

By: Karen Gilmore

Dear Summer,

You’re long gone, and I realize it’s my own fault. I know I took you for granted, but I swear I still love you.

When you first came into my life, I was attentive and deeply appreciative of your many gifts. Giddy with love, I commented on your beauty almost ad nauseam. “Isn’t summer beautiful?” I’d ask friends, colleagues, and even the pizza delivery guy. The question was rhetorical, of course. For your beauty was indisputable. And your energy was infectious.

No longer was I constantly indoors, curled up in the fetal position under a blanket. You peeled me off the couch and inspired me to get out more, and to experience all of life’s sensual pleasures.

Oh, the rapture of the first time I tasted your luscious peaches, hungrily licking the juices from my lips. Oh, the sensuous pleasure of gently squeezing your ripe tomatoes, still warm from the sun. And oh, oh, oh the exhilaration of those sudden downpours at the end of a sticky, hazy day together. The first time it happened, I panicked and tried to run for the car, but halfway there, I gave up, deliciously surrendering to your will, and danced instead. I wore a silly grin the whole way home as I remembered our encounter. It was only when my mother looked contemptuously at the wet stain on the seat of the car that my euphoria was replaced with shame and doubt.

They say love, especially new love, makes you do crazy things and yes, some of the choices you compelled me to make in those early days I later realized were not in my own best interest. The day I wore flip-flops to work and got such a stinging rebuke from my boss, for example, still fills me with shame. Frustrated, I lashed out and tried to blame you. It was the first time our relationship was marred by tension. But our reconciliation in the pool that night was, admittedly, spectacular.

I’m not really sure when it happened. I felt so lucky to have you at first, but as our relationship dragged on, I grew lazy. I awoke languidly in your warm embrace, all but oblivious to your presence. Eventually, another day with you started to feel routine.

Worse still, there were times when I put you down. To be honest, I found myself getting kind of sick of you some days. The warmth and light I had appreciated so deeply before became…well, stifling and cloying. I became restless with longing for something different. I wondered what it would be like to experience something a little darker, a little more mysterious, which lead to a brief flirtation with Autumn.

Maybe you suspected something, for soon after I noticed you slowly pulling away from me and my heart was overcome with regret over my disloyalty. I stayed in denial for quite some time, burying my head in the sand, trying to convince myself that nothing had changed. I told myself I was imagining the increasing coolness on your part, but lately the chill has become undeniable.

The night I awoke alone, chilled to the bone, and realized you’d gone for good filled me with a malaise that has stayed with me as I try to navigate life without you. Autumn continues to entice me with her charms, but all I can think about is you.

Summer, I’m sorry I took you for granted and I humbly beg you to return to me. I shiver when I think about life without you. I miss you so much that the sight of all the adorable sundresses hanging forlornly in the closet, untouched since your departure, is enough to reduce me to tears. But even in these darkest of days, my love for you endures as I await your return.