Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The Summer We Were Single
It's been a good summer here in Seattle. It's been a hot summer, the kind of hot where there's a rush on fans, and your windows are always propped open but still your apartment is hot, and you give up on trying not to be sweaty all the time and you sit on your couch in your underwear reading and eating popsicles and looking forward to the sun going down because it's too hot to go outside.
I'm a heat wimp, I'll admit. I'm a wimp about a lot of things, actually. I'm a wimp about being too cold, and in the Thai restaurant when they ask you how many stars, I always say "No stars, I'm a spice wimp." I am a wimp about answering the door for the pizza delivery guy. I don't know what it is about that, but I'd rather pay for the whole pizza than have to answer the door myself.
There are also a lot of things I am not wimpy about though. I'm not wimpy about twelve hour days at work, or about telling people things they don't want to hear, when I know they need to hear those things anyway. I am not a wimpy bridesmaid, or a wimpy HR professional, or a wimpy daughter. There are a lot of reasons why I might have let certain relationships go on too long, but being wimpy when it comes to ending things is not one of them.
Some people are wimpy about being single (no, I'm not talking about any of you, so stop thinking that). I am not. We have had a good summer of being single, Susan and I. Most weekends, we spend one or two mornings at Caffe Fiorre. I knit, Susan plays with the computer sometimes, and we talk about god knows what. I get raisin toast, Susan gets rosemary. Neither of us take jam. We look at all the dads who are there with their grubby little rosy-cheeked toddlers, and make jokes about how they might look all cute and ideal on the outside, but really at home, there is a mom who is sick of all their cuteness, and has kicked them out, saying "Get the hell out of my house for the day and take your devil spawn with you!".
Later on in the afternoon, maybe I go to the library, and then maybe in the evening we watch tivoed episodes of Project Runway while I do my laundry at her house. Sometimes we walk to the market by her house, and get a six-pack of Skinny Dip or a pack of ice cream sandwhiches and some kind of hydrating beverage. We talk about how the guy at the register would be cute if he didn't have those things in his ears, and then we walk back to her place through the playground at the school by her house, stepping over the big chalk drawing of a puppy on the way.
Most of these days, it's just a day, no big deal, we kind of coast through it. They are easy days. We can do what we want, and I might say that I'm going to go clear out my storage space or do my dishes, but probably I don't, and who cares anyway?
This is going to be the summer my apartment was messy. The summer I was lazy. The summer I rode around in Natalie with the top down, wondering why she was pulling to the left until the tire went all the way flat a block before the winery where I was going to see Pink Martini. The summer I wore out my Jack Rogers sandals while I knit 6 pairs of socks. The summer Kristine taught me how to pick up stitches along an edge, and weave neat seams for the baby sweaters for Dakota and Jenn. It will be the first summer someone had a baby at the Planter for 4th of July, and the last summer there was only one. The summer I always carried a notebook around with me, and sometimes wrote in it, and every once in a while dragged out my half-broken $35 laptop and typed something up, the summer my apartment was covered in piles of printed copies of bits of the novel, different versions of the pages, pages with comments in turquoise or purple pen from Barb, or sections with Lesley's carefully typed-up comments, or the chapters Pam sent back with her comments written diagonally across the back. The comments that I wouldn't let myself read until I was ready to fire up the computer and really dive in to the revisions, the comments that ended on the second page with something that delighted me, something like "And, I want you to ride my horse when you're here, if you want."
It will be the summer where the cute boys were Darren and Nate and Bobby and Andy and Henry, Quentin and Gary and Logan and the guys who unload the wine at Central Market in Mill Creek and sometimes, Doug.
Most of all, this will be the summer I spent with Susan. The Summer We Were Single.