It’s hot. I can feel the steam rising from the cracked Harlem sidewalks as I pad slowly down the street in my pearl covered slides, thick thighs rubbing together, and a cold brew clutched in my right fist. Usually, the heat makes me smile. The thick air and unending sunshine feel like a familiar blanket. I basque in it all like a hug from one of my aunties at Christmas time — brown skin glittering with shea butter and tea tree oil. I feel safe on my near-daily walks to the coffee shop. My neighborhood is fairly quiet during the day, and I’m temporarily shielded from a world in turmoil –of a painful and devastating news cycle that is continuously on the verge of snatching my sanity. I feel guilty for lingering in my comfy bubble of warmth and love — but it keeps me sane, so I won’t quite apologize for it.
Every year, I wait anxiously, bogged down under long leggings and a wool coat for the long lazy days of summer. Born in the middle of July, I’ve always risen in summer, something in me that lays dormant the rest of the year comes alive, and I feel lighter, freer and more like myself. This summer is different. Lately, I’ve been longing for a breeze. That crisp crack of fall air touching my skin, the multicolored leaves in the park across the street from my apartment reminding me that things have changed, that time has passed and that I’ve grown or become wiser in some way. But I don’t know that I have.
As I turn the corner to my apartment, sweat dripping from the naps at my neck, a young girl is standing there, all limbs and big grins doing cartwheels and backflips on the concrete — she’s confident and assured, and I desperately yearn to feel that way.
xoxo Chocolategirl In the City xoxoxo
Photo Credit: Bernard von Eichman