Affairs of the heart pass just like the seasons. Fall is the time for beginning new relationships. Maybe it’s because September marks the start of the school year and new opportunities for romance. There’s a sense of togetherness from all those fall holidays, plus a sense of desperation due to the coming year’s end. No one wants to be without someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve, after all.
Winter is the relationship graveyard. The test of a new lover is surviving the cold bitter months. Since you can’t spend as much time outdoors, you spend too much time indoors being close. If you hadn’t found a flaw yet, you will now.
Spring is for sex. Even though the relationship that ended in winter has left you bitter about the other gender, it doesn’t matter. All of a sudden, everybody is wearing a helluva lot less clothing. The explosion of new leaves and grass and flowers leaves you with a subliminal urge to heed the need emanating from your loins.
Then there’s summer, the most curious season of all. A time when heat fries your brain and everything becomes romanticized. You find yourself looking for that whirlwind relationshipthe kind that rekindles your faith in the opposite sex without creating a whole bunch of issues; the kind that ends right as fall approaches and you shift gears to look for something serious again.
Summer love is best when you’re young and in school. Being in school perfectly frames the summer romance experience. You’re granted three months to get away from the familiar and go find a good woman. In May of ’95, I was looking for just that. I had my fall beginnings, a thoroughly despicable winter fallout, and a satisfying spring romp. Now I needed regeneration.
Unfortunately, my playing field was looking to be a familiar one. I had to go to summer school if I wanted to get out of college the following May. But things started out rather auspiciously, when my roommates and I held our end-of-the-school-year party. Apparently, spring’s intoxicating feel hadn’t evaporated yet. During the party, one girl invited me to the bathroom for a lengthy makeout session; another wanted me take her downstairs and show her how to play Ping-Pong, but didn’t seem interested in table tennis per se.
Now, I’m not trying to gloat. Believe me, this was far better luck in one evening than I had ever experienced. Therefore, when my friend Brent asked me to help him out by talking to one girl while he tried his moves on her friend, my ego was more than willing to oblige.
We walked into the kitchen and found two girls parked in front of my refrigerator drinking beer. The object of Brent’s lust was about 6-foot-1 with long curly hair. He didn’t stand a chanceshe towered over him. The girl I was to distract was medium height, black hair that looked like she had just gotten out of the shower, old khaki shorts, a sorority T-shirt, and bright blue eyes.
I did my part, walked up and introduced myself. She said her name was Emily and promptly ignored me. After several false starts at conversation, I noticed that I didn’t have just one girl’s attention but two, for Brent had bailed on me. Perhaps he realized how tall his conquest was the closer he’d gotten. I wasn’t sure, though, so I continued to entertain them in the hopes he’d returnwhich he did, sporadically, without saying a word. Like a vulture circling a carcass, Brent would walk through, check the situation out, and then keep going. By the time I excused myself to find out what had happened, he was gone, as was everyone else at the party. I had sacrificed my great evening on the pyre of someone else’s lust.
The situation being what it was, I decided to make the best of it and gave Emily my full attack. What I found was a delightfully formidable opponent. She was a journalism major, I was an English major, and we held a common bond in our imminent summer school purgatory. Every line I used, she rebuffed, though she seemed to be enjoying my vigorous effort. Eventually, I gave up and just decided to try the direct approach. So I announced that if it didn’t bother her, I was going to kiss her. She showed no sign of objection, so I did.
Then she stood up and said, “Guess I’ll be going now,” and headed for the door. My cool quickly eroded as I leapt forward and told her that she had to dance with me to a Frank Sinatra tune before she left. She didn’t know me well enough to realize this obviously meant it was 3 in the morning and that I was drunk out of my gourd. We danced, and I even convinced her to come down to my lair, but nothing happened. Every advance I made was met with, “Just shut up and kiss me. You have no intention of calling me anyway.” She left me at 7 a.m. with her phone number and nothing else. No attachments, no stringsjust the cool hum of the air-conditioning to remind me of a hot summer flash passing by. It was fantastic.
The next day, I called just to prove her wrong. She talked about people I didn’t know and could have cared less about. The conversation ended with a “see ya ’round.”
Things in summer school didn’t pan out. My course was Women in Literature. Great class. I read many wonderful short stories: Rona Jaffe’s “Rima the Bird Girl” and George P. Elliott’s “Sandra” are still favorites of mine. But being one of only two males in the class, I couldn’t resist letting the jackass in me escape occasionally. I think I lost a lot of points with the ladies when I suggested that Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” just goes to show that only a woman would equate insanity with a decorating faux pas.
Meanwhile, nights were spent on the prowl. There’s no studying in summer school, after allthat’s why you go. You get the credit in three weeks instead of drudging through an entire three months of classes. One night in my favorite watering hole, Flamingos, I ran into Emily at the bar. She was hanging out with a friend. Dim lights, lots of beers, sharp wits, and before I knew it, we were liplocked again.
That one evening started the seasonal pattern: The same night every week, we showed up at Flamingos pretending we didn’t know the other would be there. No phone calls were ever made. (That would cross into the area of real relationship behavior, which’ll suck the wind out of any good summer fling.) Pretty soon, though, one night a week turned into two. Romantic overtures became more overt. I started to stay at her place now and then. She failed Spanish in summer school for me, mostly because I never let her get to sleep before 5 a.m., and she’d end up skipping class.
All the while, she got prettier, smarter, funnier, sexier, and more adorable. Not just because we were young and drank too muchalthough we should own stock in Anheuser-Busch after that summerbut because there’s something about the summer air and the freedom that comes between May and August. It can truly rejuvenate your faith in the other gender and heal all wounds.
As the summer started to fade, I found myself getting more seriousI even made the phone call. Now, four years later, Emily still rejuvenates me. Lucky for me, my summer fling turned into fall romance and never hit the winter graveyard. But we’re still known to have great spring romps.
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