Summer is coming!

Now that Met Éireann has finally calmed the bloody hell down with their weather warnings, Summer is on its way. It’ll need to take a few stiff drinks, then shower, exfoliate, eat, stretch, clean its apartment, dispose of the bodies, change its phone number and delete its internet search history first, but once all is in order Summer will emerge, eventually. Yes, as always, it will drink too much on its first weekend out of the blocks. Yes, it will start yet another argument with the neighbours that they’ll hold against us for years and judge us for whenever their eyes meet ours as we walk our bins to the kerb. Yes, there will be drunken, woeful moaning for how Autumn never returns its calls because Spring is younger and sexier and how it always wanted to be dangerous and mysterious like Winter, and how it could have been but it was cheated out of the opportunity and tricked into being Summer by its domineering father who always assumed he knew best even though he always drank too much and never came to even one of its violin recitals.

Alas, we’ll also have to listen to Summer retelling the same tired and embarrassing stories of moments of lesser judgement from past years that it still finds hilarious. That inevitable, rambling entrée of forgettable kisses, broken dishes, certainly-unjust arrests, car bonnet serenades, overpriced cocktails, sunburn, heatstroke, missed flights, lounge lizards, karaoke, late night A&E visits and dreaded mornings after will be immediately followed by the now expected ritual of Summer’s many and varied attempts to convince us to repeat the same errors this year by disguising them in implausible yet new ruses that will no doubt lead to similar, if not identical, lapses in common sense over the coming months.

Yes, we’ll probably lend Summer some money we know it’ll never pay us back. Just as we’ll listen to it roar with laughter at its own predictable jokes and spill drinks on our new carpets, wake the baby, cry about how it just can’t lose the weight it put on over winter and how Santa Claus never once left it any gifts under a tree even though it was always good and always did its best to make everyone happy. Not to mention that it will likely pass out early in a drunken stupor then get up in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep and attempt to grill a sandwich before leaving the element on and, without even eating the offending article, fall back asleep while the house fills with smoke, again. We will endure all of this, and the vast litany of crass offenses and juvenile tantrums Summer is infamous for. We will do this because we love Summer and we long for its company, just as it longs for its few moments of annual adoration.

Of course, a mess will be made and a pound of sanity taken and regret will come skulking in Summer’s shadow, as always, eyeing us while it waits for us to do something stupid. But as fallible and aromatic as Summer is, it brings good wine, cold beer and chicken wings for the barbecue. It invites our relatives from abroad. It makes the evenings longer and days warmer and it washes and arranges the garden furniture. Summer reminds us why we put up with the rain and the snow and the rain and the cold and the rain and the rain and the wind and the rain all year until it comes to us in all its vivid and broken glory, like a lost child who has found its parents. It makes everything OK for all too short a time before being dragged away screaming and begging to be saved, its trembling hands reaching for us, with so many unanswered questions gushing from its heart, through its tears and into our souls as we look away, ashamed in our weakness, unable to save it from its fate.

Stephen Fahey

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