Summer (October 2019, Week 1, Day 5)
Every year, every single year, the seasons take their turn. Winter always gets to wrap itself around both sides of the change of year. Spring follows, whether emulating a lion or a lamb, and cleans up the debris of Winter. Summer and fall do their bits, too. Every year. There isn’t much else in the world that is as unerringly consistent as the seasons beyond the “what goes up must come down” adage. The seasons, physics, gravity – these are things we have, as humans, been able to count on. The seasons have been so consistent for so long that we’ve gone as far as to build entire religions based on them. Songs and stories feature them in a way that presumes understanding. And, sometimes, children are named after them for better or for worse.
Summer was one of those children, and one for whom the name fell into the for worse column. She might have been able to have a disposition further from her name only if you believe all things are possible. As it stood, while one would expect someone named Summer to be light, carefree, and fun, this Summer was dark, angsty, and dull. She was the kind of child that made parties end early. She was the kind of child who attracted the worst of the substitute teachers. She was, to be honest, the kind of child without friends.
Summer did match her name in one regard – she was beautiful on the outside. At the should-be-tender age of 13 she had made it to the other side of the awkward moments of puberty and was a sharp version of what would be her adult self. She was of average height and both arms and legs had landed at perfectly proportional lengths. Her hair was full and lush, her teeth were white and straight, and her skin was a perfect brown. She didn’t see herself as beautiful. She didn’t really see herself, period.
Summer lived with her father. He had fought hard to keep her with him after divorcing her mother, a rarity for someone so male and so young. Summer didn’t know that, and she didn’t remember what life was like with two parents. She would have felt normal if her grandparents hadn’t told her she should be devastated, or if all the story books hadn’t told her she should be working hard to get her parents back together, or if the other children hadn’t asked her if she felt like her home was broken. Missing her mother wasn’t something she thought about much except for when the playground mommies looked at her with pity when they thought she wasn’t paying attention, and leaving elementary school behind had cut down on that considerably.
In the end, settled for wearing black and stomping around. It wasn’t until Art was placed in her classroom that things changed.
The town Summer and her father lived in was fairly small and averse to change, so new students weren’t common. Summer had had the last row of the classroom to herself since the 6th grade. The teacher pursed her lips as she directed Art to the seat next to Summer as if proximity to her might contaminate this new student on his first day.