i’ll let time kiss me on the cheek

I was born on the first day of summer, I grew up by the beach, but I don’t think I’ve ever been a summer child. Summers are sticky and for unprecedented family trips. And prior to undergrad, my school only gave us 1 month not 3 of sun break—some I’d just try to savour what I can with the AC in front of a screen.

Ever since the 2020 lockdown, life’s felt like an extended summer break. Not with poetic sunsets; the way you had to complete an academic semester in order for winter break to begin. Winter feels more official—everyone has a winter break of some sort. And I was waiting for the get together bustle; for when it was cold enough that hugging wasn’t awkward; for Christmas and New Years to let me make life transforming resolutions. As I got older, whilst others dived into a pool, I’d jump head first into the projects I’d been cramming between school work all year. The water splashed the same really, and I still saw winter as the real recess. That basically sums up my extended summer break in Hanoi. I found a new comfort and thrill in loved ones and the city I loved, so much so that July was the hardest flight to leave on. But I also basically worked for a whole year.

Whenever someone asks what’s it’s been like to be back in Chicago, I always say it’s as if I’ve never lived here. Yesterday I cannon balled into a lake for the first time in my life—partly because of myriad mishaps I’ve allowed up until now, partly because I was scared of water until the age of 9 and partly because I’ve never understood how to “summer”—despite having moved next to a giant ass body of water for 4 years. Between being grateful for vaccination privileges, unpacking, and working some more, I’ve been seeing Chicago. Partly because I had 30-ish days until school, partly because my laptop broke down for 5 of those days; partly because for the first time, I could. I wanted to.

I’ll cringe whenever I admit that I am scared of feeling too much, that I allow myself to be goofy but never in lieu of ambition—whether it’s to myself on a first date or to a dare devil friend as I held onto the railing to keep my head above Lake Michigan—but I am and I do. I said I’d jump into the lake at least once before we went home so I did. It’s the last 1 month not 3 of sticky summer break after all. At least it was mine.

I’ll let time kiss me on the cheek, and remind me that I have more. The season’s just changing.