And we kept happening. I’d finally convinced Summer to join me for dinner at my place on selected Saturday’s. It’s said that one can find out all he or she needs to know about a person is by observation. By my observation, Summer is quiet but not in the least shy. She’s soft spoken yet clear about what she wants and expects. Did I mention she snorts a little when she laughs or that she steals the sheets and gets herself bound up in them? Right now I’m resting on my elbow watching her sleep. She’s curled up into a ball slightly snoring. Snoring! Summer constantly brings a smile to my face, even more so when she spends the night. Sometimes she shows up unexpectedly, concerned that she has worn out her welcome. She’s always trying to explain herself. I assure her that she’s always welcome.
Soon Summer will burst from my room looking for breakfast. Come with me while I head into the kitchen. You know, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to cook for a woman. Hold on, let me grab a bowl… So as I was saying, cooking is one of few pleasures I have left. There was a time when I’d ride, horses that is, but I gave that up. After the divorce…what I’m saying is, the horses I raised from young went to her. She’d gotten so attached to them that I couldn’t not give them to her. It did hurt, yes, so much so that I can’t imagine raising and grooming horses again, not any that belong to me.
This is how I arrived at building things. I love what I do but I don’t get attached to my work. Attachment. I can see my life heading down that path again now that I’ve meet Summer. I see the path but am helpless to stop walking down it. Honestly I’m quite terrified but I don’t let her know it. Wait a second while I throw a couple of slabs of pepper bacon on the griddle. Okay. So what would you have me do if you were in my situation? Hold that thought, I’m cracking some eggs. I know what you’re going to say, that I should ride this wave, that it could be something permanent, that if I don’t try I’ll never know. You realize I was asking a rhetorical question, right?
“Relationships are hard.” I state absentmindedly.
“Yes that are.”
“I didn’t hear you come in. Do you enjoy sneaking up on me?”
“Yes. It’s your own fault that you don’t pay attention. What’s for breakfast?”
“Hot cakes, bacon and eggs. Coffee?”
“Bleh. Can’t stand the stuff.”
She nods as a lazy grin forms over her face. Her eyes are still glassy and hair is a curly mess. Perfect. “What?”
“You sure you have nothing to say?”
“I was just wondering what you were thinking about.”
“Breakfast. What do you think, have breakfast here or outside?”
“I was hoping you’d say that.” I hand her a plate and a glass of OJ and send her outside. I follow seconds later as I pour myself a mug of coffee. The sky is still dark but the sun will soon to rise.
As terrified as I am about this friendship, this relationship, nothing can replace spending time like this with this woman who’s silently enjoying a meal I prepared. We sit quietly gliding back and forth on the porch swing as the sun begins to raise her head.
“Beautiful isn’t it?”
“I’d never watched the sun rise until I met you.”
“That’s sad and yet I feel honored to be your first.”
“Honored you say? City life doesn’t allow this type of pleasure. There’s always something to do or somewhere to be. I feel like I’m trapped on a hamster wheel going in circles.”
“You can always stop.”
“And do what?”
“Whatever you want.”
“That might work for you but not me. I have too much on me.”
“Like I said, you could always stop. It’s your choice.”
“Did you hear what I said Brandon?”
“Say that again.”
I don’t consider myself a funny guy but I’m certainly considering working on my comedic timing. Summer is sitting beside me laughing like there is no tomorrow. I think I see tears pooling at either corners of her eyes. Her laugh is like spiced tea with a dash of honey that soothes a scratchy throat on a bitter winter night.
“Or you could come in. Live with me.”
Where did that come from?
“Have you considered living with me?”
“No. I couldn’t. We’ve been dating for what, four months? Don’t you think it’s too soon to be thinking about living together?”
“Yes. I think it is too soon but we’re not getting any younger.”
Why am I pushing the subject?!
“We don’t get to see each other that often. You know I live in the city and I can’t just drop everything on a whim.”
“I’m not a whim.”
“Come on, that’s not what I meant.”
“I’m forty-five Summer. The clock is ticking.”
“The clock is ticking for me as well but I have to think about how I’m going to make a living if I drop everything for you.”
“I’ll take care of you, that’s how you’ll get taken care of.”
“I don’t know what to say to that.”
“I’ve been waiting for a woman to give this house life. There’s no better woman that you.”
“You’re talking about marriage after four months of dating.”
“People have married in less time.”
There she goes again, laughing, filling my heart with hope. “What about babies?”
“Babies?! You want babies?!”
“Lots of them. I’m forty-five you know.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Summer laughed a good five minutes straight and I couldn’t help but join in. When I look at it, it does sound crazy, marriage and babies after four months of dating. But what’s crazier is not doing this despite my fears. I may as well go all in while I’ve tapped into my crazy.
“You should think about this, but not too long.”
“You’re actually serious?”
We sat staring at each other until the slam of a car door startled us. I turn and see none other than Tina Raelin, my ex-wife walking up the path to greet me.