January

The thunder and the breeze mix with the smell of someone barbecuing a couple of houses over and my eyes begin to sting a little. The sky is groaning, turning an angrier and angrier gray, with a little patch of blue peeking out in the distance. It looks like a summer thunderstorm. My favorite. At least I think it is my favorite, but who knows – ask me again in the summer when travel plans are ruined because of sudden rains and I might have changed my mind. Still, the point is that it isn’t summer. It is winter. And it has been the longest one yet (again, ask me this time next year, who knows). But today, right now the air is warm and thick with balmy summer rain. Warm and thick with cook-out meats.

But the point is, the point is it is still January and I feel like it will be January forever, and this brief moment of summer is serving as a painful reminder of all the idyllic pleasures that we’re missing thanks to this winter’s seeming endlessness.

Right now, the thunder sounds like hours and hours of solitude and rest. It brings back memories of lying in bed with my head resting on the windowsill, my cheek pressed against the cool glass, and the hours and hours that could pass with nothing much to do but read a book or watch the rain. The air smells like freedom and childhood and sadness that you know will eventually fade, like sadness that fits like a blanket and not like a straightjacket.

Because there’s a difference, right? There is a sadness you can bear because it will eventually fade. And then there’s the kind of sadness that sticks around a little too long and you start to wonder if it’s been January for 52 days instead of 27. You begin to wonder whether you’ll ever get to wear shorts and tank tops and feel the sun against your calves and see a sprinkling of freckles on your shoulders again, or if your wardrobe will now and forever be comprised of layers upon layers of stiffness and warmth and calculating every task by how cold you’ll have to be to complete it.

Today right now it feels like summer but I know it isn’t but just please, please, please – don’t let January last forever.

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