I wore pajamas and flipflops while drinking coffee from my Snoopy cup—never did pay much attention to what I looked like. A woman, hair bottle-bronzed, sat next to me on the bus stop bench. She had a sensible look, white tennis shoes with an A-line skirt down past her knees, you know, sensible.
I said to her, “You know the kind of people who talk about their summers like they was straight from a Hallmark channel movie? All dreamy and perfect?”
The woman sat her canvas purse on her lap and said, “Sure do.”
I kept talking. “Those people pick fresh fruit and make pies, go swimming in warm lakes while their kids go wild from one cabin to the next, eat snow cones and run through sprinklers …you think they’re making it up?
“No, it’s real,” she said, looking at me with hooded eyes full of memory.
“Hmmm.” Pointing across the road, I said, “This right here is my summer. That’s my place. Kind of a crooked and sorry-looking, but I lived there for twenty-three years, and I’ve nowhere else to go. I adopted this bench here as my porch. My morning place, I call it.” I looked to see if she was still with me. She was.
The 914 bus grunted around the corner half a block away. The woman touched my shoulder as she stood. “Look at that sky, honey, all cotton candy-colored. You’ve got steaming coffee and a wonderful bench from which to contemplate the day ahead…I sure like the looks of your summer.” Her smile was warm like the morning sun as she left me for the 914 bus.
I never did see her again, but I remember her most mornings while drinking my coffee, thinking that my dog days of summer look mighty fine after all.