For me, summer will always taste like the mulberry jam we made from the great, fat berries that fell like endless rain from the trees in my backyard.
It was sweet but also slightly prickly with seeds, which always got crammed in between my molars, but we stuffed ourselves full of it anyways,
spreading it onto bread with butter and eating it until our little stomachs bulged and we had to stretch out on the carpet and just listen to the radio.
Summer will always feel like the electric prickle of static that gathered around us in a whirlwind as we jumped for hours on my trampoline.
You would time your jumps just right in order to catapult me skyward, my stomach leaving my body entirely as I fell with breathless giggles on top of you, a pile of young, pointy limbs.
The static buzzed all around us, making my hair reach out and cling to you, and yours to me, like a thousand anchors thrown to shore, saying “don’t leave, don’t you ever leave me.”
For me, summer will always sound like our laughter as you talked about your latest obsessions while we were waiting for the t.v.
static to turn back to cable; the fire burning in your eyes spreading through me like my whole body was built of matches, and suddenly your obsessions were my obsessions,
and something inside me made me promise myself I’d remember that moment forever, that it was more important than I could have known.
Summer looks like the skin on my arms after I’d been laying on your rug for too long, the threads pressing their texture temporarily into my flesh, covering me with little red dots.
I would sit up and rub the blood back into my tingling arms, but then I would just sprawl back out on the ground and let the process repeat itself.
I’d crane my neck to look up at you on the couch, and you would smile and smile as we listened to your favorite song.
It was time wasted, but time well spent, because we were wasting it together, and something inside me stilled, something I hadn’t known was restless.
Summer is the dull drumming of rain against your window, which we prayed to every night for three days,
asking whoever was in charge of rainstorms to keep it going so my mother wouldn’t be able to come pick me up and end our elongated sleepover.
When your mom wasn’t watching, we’d run out into that onslaught, blinded and breathless, the dark crack of thunder unable to do more than thrill us, since death seemed so far away,
and we were the gods of your backyard.
But we were children then, and life takes us to strange places. I’ve lived in many houses and places since the place between the mulberry tree and the trampoline was home to me.
I still feel the prickle of static, and hear it’s buzzing on the radio, but now it just sounds like noise.
It’s been many years since you last spoke to me, and I haven’t seen a summer, I haven’t tasted a summer, heard, or felt one since.