When this week’s Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop prompt asked us to describe our perfect summer, I have to say that I stumbled. It’s the word ‘perfect’ that I have the biggest problem with; I know that perfection isn’t possible. If it’s not possible, why even bother to aspire for it? And Life being what it is at the moment, well, most days are just about surviving. It also made me think of Trifecta’s normal prompt this week. Normal seems to be something that other people are perfect at. Perfect summers exist in that elusive normal world which is just one semi-detached house, manicured lawn and fancy car away from our own world. My world, that is, even if I can’t speak for yours.
But I miss summer. Summer is something that I’ve never quite been on the easiest of terms with. Summer was something that just happened, a convenient name for the long divide between two terms of school, a hanging around and waiting for the world to start again. In most of the recent years, the summer weather has fallen in April and while July and August can be warm, they’re always grey or wet. Not exactly inspiring weather conditions. Then, these last few years, we haven’t had transport. We can’t go for days out in the countryside or pop to the beach whenever the sun comes out from behind a cloud. It feels a little like we’re missing out on summer.
Slowly, I realised that perhaps I do hold a stereotype of the perfect summer, it’s somewhat disillusioning because I know it can never be attained, I’ll never be able to get all of these variables under control at once. It’s a dream, a fantasy. The perfect summer will always stay in that perfect world where normal people apparently live. Because in the real world there is always work or family commitments that don’t allow you to skip off and enjoy the one day of summer that may suddenly appear, there are financial pressures and a complete lack of a summer wardrobe and all the billion and one little stresses and worries which don’t really leave even if the sun does come out.
Here is my perfect summer:
In this perfect summer of mine, I won’t settle for the odd sunny day and warm weather. Oh no, I want a whole season of summer. A reliable period of warmth and sunshine where you can actually get used to the concept before the clouds appear again. And the raindrops. I want a holiday brochure perfect blue sky, warm but not too hot. And for the sake of the farmers, I don’t even mind if it rains overnight occasionally. It can be a beautiful start to a day, the freshness of a sweet summer shower, dewdrops on the grass, a faint mist over the streams. But I want the sun to burn on through and clear it out of the way. Every day. Oh, and no humidity either. Neither my body nor my hair can do humidity. And beautiful, crisp sunsets late in the evening.
In this perfect summer of mine, the weather will be gorgeous so that means that there is only one place to be: the beach. There will be a beautiful beach with warm, soft yellow sand and gentle blue-green waves lapping at the shore. The water will warm enough for swimming and splashing. I’d like some green countryside to walk in too, somewhere to seek the shade during the middle of the day, gentle hills of fields or some other agricultural delight, olive groves or vineyards if I really push the boat out and my perfect summer transports me to some exotic destination, like a Greek island. Perhaps some interesting, little historic places to wander around because even in a perfect world, I doubt my attention span will take sitting on a beach doing nothing day in, day out. Whitewashed villages, old forts, a decent museum or two. I love architecture. But near the coast always, a soft seaside breeze to gently waft through the streets. Some restaurants and a good market will also make this the perfect place.
In this perfect summer of mine, I will not be my usual ungainly self wrapped in more layers than a parcel at a children’s game, I will have a perfect summer wardrobe of soft floaty cotton blouses, long skirts and even a nice sundress or two. I will not worry about showing my arms and I will not persistently remain an albino shade of milk bottle. It does sound a little vain but in that perfect, apparently normal, world, everyone looks nice. They have perfect hair and skin and they have the right clothes. In that perfect summer, I will suddenly fit in my own skin and be able to concentrate on enjoying what’s around me.
In this perfect summer of mine, there will only be friendly, happy people. Good weather does this people generally. I will be surrounded by friends, perhaps those friends who I haven’t seen for ages and miss so much. It’ll be about catching up and sharing memories and experiences. We will laugh and chat away the evenings into the dark of night.
In my perfect summer of mine, there will be plenty of good, fresh food. I don’t mind cooking in this perfect world if I have a good kitchen, good food and good friends to share it with. There will be plenty of ice cream, eaten in cones with it dribbling down the hand in the heat, and watermelon. There will cocktails and long drinks. There will be bags of fresh fruit warm from the market, strawberries and cherries. We will eat in restaurants when we feel like it because in this perfect world there are no money pressures, no boring places with limited menus of just fish’n’chips or steak. There will be long lunches with salads and so much talk that people almost forget to eat, sitting under the shade on a veranda or patio.
In this perfect summer of mine.
I miss summer. I miss dreaming.