culture & community sisterhood travel

These are the Days (or: Summertime in the City)

by JoAnna — July 17, 2013

NYC

NYC

These are the days.

Where the sun rains down torrents of blistering light and steam escapes from grates in sultry and fluid wisps. The air plays tricks on your eyes as buildings sway and melt ahead. Blurred to your naked eye they vibrate in rubbered liquid lines. Exposed brick is heated to 40° and it retains that warmth well into the night. Sand scorches the bottom of feet – the boardwalk too – while wrinkle inducing smells routinely waft through the air. Water looks cool to the touch, until you learn it’s tepid. Room temperature liquid that’s so clear you can admire your reflection. Plunging your hand into the purified water you find a moment of grace. It momentarily relieves the burn so you take a sip. Or maybe a dip. Perhaps you throw a penny. You always make a wish.

NYC

These are the days.

That cause accidents in the street. Some frocks are long while others are short, yet all boast deep ‘v’ tailoring that provides maximum exposure. The sound of flip flops sploosh splosh as they’re suctioned to the sidewalk. Then there’s the tik tak of vertiginous heels that echo regardless of which direction you turn. Exposed sinewy arms swing to the sides while bourgeoning paunches are beaten back by white tanks. Canvas boat shoes and Adidas kicks. High waisted shorts that ride so high they compel even the most virtuous to take a look. Perspiration builds and resides in the crook of an elbow. It rolls down the low curve of a neck and pools in that nook at the base of the spine. It makes cotton the most loved fabric on earth and silk the most difficult to wear.

NYCThese are the days.

When it rains it pours. The sky so hot it can’t hold back the fat droplets of sweat that fall onto our heads. The heavens fill with thunder and flashes of electric light. Haze and humidity are swept away by towering walls of popcorn shaped cumuli. Thunderheads that try on various shades of rose and lilac. They bleed crimson all the way through.

NYC

These are the days.

Where I change clothes three times an afternoon. Where a walk to the corner store is a nightmare for my hair. And though air conditioned cars and ice-cold trains provide moments of respite, my feet remain my favoured mode of transport. They toil, they swell, they ache and they ignite, but they take me from West to East and all the way South. I wander along long old rail lines, meander through parks and stroll across bridges. I zig zag amidst the concrete canopies that tower overhead. A shield for all elements, my umbrella never leaves my side and café terraces have become my new best friends. Fizzy wine and tapas bites. Lemon wedges shoved into bottle necks. Cubes of ice that crackle and evaporate when they come in contact with skin.

Burn baby burn.

NYC

These are the days.

When dusk and dawn push against each other. When the thermostat hits 20 before you’ve even rolled out of bed. It’s the time when children squeal on the playground with shirtless delight and parents sit under leafy trees keeping tabs through mirrored shades. Jangled bells from trucks and push carts tintinabulate down the road; signalling that something sweet and iced is just moments away. Young couples saunter down avenues with their sticky fingers interlaced. They talk about travel and romance, they contemplate grand plans and heartache. The smell of charcoal dominates though it’s slightly tinged with exhaust. It also carries syrupy notes of the zesty barbecue sauce you love so well. In the meanwhile, cyclists whoosh across the city at each and every turn. Skateboarders and hipsters on roller blades clickety clack along their merry way.

There’s heavy breathing. There’s blossoming. There’s laughter that reverberates into light reflected nights.

Yes, these are the days.

NYC

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  • Amber

    Sigh…. we had about a week of this sort of weather this year and then it cooled off. I miss the summers I grew up with and look forward to visiting home in August…. though not before we make a two week pit stop in France!

    • Roving Altruist

      I’d be happy to trade off a few degrees to bring it down to a level that’s less searing. Though…there’s always something to whinge on about, no? Have a lovely time this summer Amber, both in France and at home!

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  • Bridget

    JoAnna, I’m constantly astounded by your writing abilities. Your descriptions are so poetically delicious I am forever transported to far away places by your words alone. And then you add your gorgeous photos-to die for! Also, every time I see the title for your piece show up in my feed it’s had me humming “Those Were the Days” by Cream http://www.songstube.net/video.php?title=Those%20Were%20The%20Days&artistid=3639&artist=Cream&id=201283

    • Roving Altruist

      Thanks Bridget, it’s such a pleasure to be part of a collective like ET to create pieces like this one. And as for the Cream song…I’ve had it running through my head as well!