Sunday, 30 June 2013

If you can't stand the heat...

Summer is almost upon us now. Everyone is beginning to anticipate the hot, lazy days ahead; the year's holiday in the sun. I find myself missing summer all year round, longing for the smells of sun scorched pavements, the concrete almost melting. I miss the heavy feeling of heat on my skin.

I want my hair to be full of salt, sun-bleached and dried into those elusive, genuinely "beachy" waves. I'm craving summery scents: coconut body lotions soothing sun-tanned limbs, the familiar, nostalgic flavour of sunscreen, reminding you of childhood days at the seaside, paddling in the waves and eating ice cream. I want to wear sunglasses everyday, all summer long, simply because the sun is shining so brightly. I'd love a deep tan that isn't out of a bottle, that comes from being outside for hours and hours, for days on end.

I want to not be able to sleep because of the heat. I want to lie under a thin sheet rather than a stifling duvet. I want to find sand between my toes and under my nails, painted a bright, tropical coral or turquoise. I don't want to wear or think about jeans from now until September, if possible. I'll be floating around in maxi dresses and sandals, imagining that I'm already on holiday in the sun. I want to buy a new bikini - something I've done every summer for the past five years. Its becoming a ritual.

Summer. Proper hot, sweltering, blistering heat. I know I live in a country where, if we're lucky, we might get a week of weather like this - and even then it won't compare to the temperatures in a million and one other far away places: from dry, dusty deserts and humid rainforests to crowded, sweaty cities and beaches packed with travellers and tourists everywhere from Brazil and L.A. to Thailand and Australia. I can't help myself; can't stop craving and hoping for a long, boiling-hot, sunshine-filled Indian summer.

I'm not much of a believer in "summer memories" and in fact my recollections of the summer months over the years tend to blur into one, to the point where I don't quite remember which country or which beach I was on in which year, with which haircut. Looking back at the photographs confuses me and I never recognize myself, in the pictures with family and friends, all getting younger and younger as the years go back. I know I'm incredibly lucky in that my family have always loved travelling and booking our holiday is something we look forward to doing all year. I've spent lots of time on beaches and in beautiful cities all over Italy as well as in Spain and many places in England of course and this year I will hopefully be adding a new country or two to my list.

As usual, F. Scott Fitzgerald says
it better than anyone else ever could...
Although my tan will fade away into pale, winter skin, the bright clothes and summery dresses will be put away until next year and I will go back to only ever wearing dark nail polish, I hope to remember the summer of 2013 for a long time. I've waited all year for it to come around: the countdown beginning in March, around the time of my 17th birthday. For anyone of my age, this will be our last ever summer with a back-to-school feeling waiting for us in September, infusing the holiday with regret before it has even begun. This time next year we'll hopefully be looking forward to going off to universities, to travelling or starting exciting new jobs in the somehow very scary "real world." I'm going to enjoy every single moment of this almost-last summer, I don't want to wish away a second.


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