summer is meant to be squandered

The snow will come any day now. You can almost smell it. Living in quarantine was already a form of Russian winter, an endless slurry of days that felt the same, some more wet some more sunny but with that enduring stamp of dread and the inevitable. Summer is meant to be squandered, I know that. When I was a boy July seemed to last for a few years, days marked by trips to the local pool, candies bought for a penny or maybe a great big nickel, the frantic running down hills, the smell of chlorine in our hair, the sweet sticky remains of watermelon on our cheeks, seeds spit into the dirt imagining they would all grow. 

We watched the trees from the windows as they grew green overnight, as the sun hung low in the sky at 4AM, knowing it would all be over before we knew it. 

I did begin to go out, quickly in the afternoon when less people were in the woods. Masked, and nervous I would speedwalk past trees and the stream that ran through them, over a little bridge, legs pumping, camera tucked in a bag, trying to re-see the world. It was all so surreal. Our kitchen never felt so familiar. 

I shot roll after roll of film, lining them up on my desk like trophies. I waited a good two months before sending them all to the lab. Pictures I had taken that were long forgotten, of old men on benches, of doors somehow resting on the forest floor, or people walking in the distance like ghosts, fistfuls of wildflowers, broken cars wrapped in black plastic. It was like none of this had happened. 

Just the idea of green, insects buzzing around my ears, the little laugh of running water, the smack of mud on my shoes, the smell of something rotting. 


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