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Summer in December

Matthew Lambert

Wake up. Another gorgeous day. Summer in December. Something your cold New England soul cannot abide. Your body aches for the snow. Can you believe it? A thing like that. Aching for snow. How you forget those early mornings with scraper in hand, attacking the ice on your car’s windshield with all the precision of a monkey holding a scalpel.

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Roll out of bed, careful not to wake your still-slumbering spouse. Shuffle bleary-eyed into the shower. Ice water stings your back but does nothing for your mood. Take a jog, you tell yourself. Clear your mind. Some sunlight will set you straight. Callused feet slap hard pavement as the sun scorches down. Your thinning hair no longer substantial enough to fend off a burned scalp. If you’re going to live in this climate, you really need a hat. Jogging through the Botanical Gardens, you feel slightly better. Then, an old man easily thirty years your senior glides by effortlessly. Pause and glance down at your Frankie Says Relax t-shirt. Find it sticky with sweat. Look to the Opera House. Once it thrilled you, this epic marvel of modern architecture. Now, just a few short months after having arrived, you’re indifferent. Walk home. Assess your situation. So risk-averse. Yet, here you are stranded on the other side of the world. Ten thousand miles from your friends and family. Married to a woman you’ve known for just over a year. These aren’t the actions of a risk-averse man. This is the definition of risk. Regardless, you love her. So why are you so bitter?

Home alone. So sweaty. Must shower again. Should eat something, look for a job. Should write that novel you keep telling people you’re writing. Too tired. Watch television instead. Sleepy. Will have a short nap. Twenty minutes, tops. Maybe an hour. No longer. Don’t piss away another day. Wake to a slamming door. Wife’s home. You’re passed out on the couch in an undershirt and boxer briefs. You don’t know how time got away from you. You had intended to get so much done. She tries her best to understand. You know she’s disappointed. Before bed, she speaks of a job posting. You bristle. Why so much needling? You’re searching every day. Isn’t that enough? Bickering ensues. Both go to sleep unhappy. Great job, guy! Weeks pass. One day you stumble upon a meditation app. Download the app, give it a try. Guy who guides you through the exercise has a posh accent. It’s silly, sitting in complete silence with eyes closed. Shouldn’t you feel something? You don’t feel anything. Maybe you’re doing it wrong. “That’s ok. Practice makes perfect.” Says the man with the posh accent.

Months pass. Wake to a warm sun. Bounce out of bed, careful not to disturb your still slumbering spouse. Roll into the shower. Cold, prickly water feels rejuvenating against your skin. Afterwards, pop on a hat and race into the hot, summer day. Jog through the Gardens. Wave to the older gentleman racing by, the only other early riser in sight. Pause for a moment as you turn the corner and the Opera House slides into view. Breathtaking. Walk home. Assess your situation. One year in this new country you’ve come to call your own. New friends. New job. Happy life. You took a bold leap into the unknown with a beautiful stranger. You landed here. Lucky you. Home now. Over breakfast, discuss your upcoming trip: Christmas in the States. Conflicted emotions. Will be nice to see family and friends. But a cold holiday? How unfortunate. Kiss wife goodbye as she hurries off to work. Settle in to meditate. Still not sure if you’re doing it right. Not sure what “right” would look like. Regardless, it makes you feel better. Pop in your headphones. Fire up the app. Run a hand through your hair. Thinner, still. Maybe you should shave it off. Not a bad look, is it? Works for the guy with the posh accent.

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You don’t know how time got away from you. You had intended to get so much done.

Matthew Lambert

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