Summer Nights

(part 6 of 'The Cape')

I remember waking up on a summer morning to the sound of fans. It was hot, and it seemed like all the energy was somehow stolen from my body overnight. Oh yeah the fans were strategically placed throughout the apartment by my dad who believed that bouncing the air from one fan off the wall picked up by another fan facing a window towards a fan in a window created this tremendous breeze. This actually only worked if you were standing in front of one of the fans.

Out on the street everything and everyone seemed to be moving at half speed. Once my friends and I got together it was easy to decide what to do. The Johnny pump was our ocean. Once it was open we were all swept away to our imaginary islands. Our clothes hanging on palm trees (iron fence) our towels spread out on the shoreline (steps of the stoop). Aah paradise. The real beach was only for the weekends, if we were lucky. I was pretty lucky because there were times I spent at my grandmothers in Bay Ridge, close to Coney Island. I never spoke about it. I didn’t want my friends to feel bad.

One thing that stands out in my mind so strongly is memories of special summer nights, everybody outside on their stoops sitting on steps or kitchen chairs, talking baseball, politics, prices, and of course the heat. Then the breeze would pick up, the sky would begin to light up, thunder would get closer and closer. There would be just a few warning drops and then a downpour would send everyone except the kids scurrying to the hallways. There would be laughter, happy yelling soaked kids, dancing in the rain. In an instant the ran would stop. The strange smell of clean concrete and  asphalt would fill the air along with the happy chatter of returning neighbors to their places, a little cooler, a little happier, and not wanting to end this summer night.

Waiting for the breeze that only sometimes came
Or perhaps a summer storm rain
Sitting on the front stoop in solitude
In a world words could not explain
Lighting bolts light the distant sky
Nature’s promise of rest from a summer heat
Senses aware of the ocean’s scent in the air
The sound of thunder quickens the heart’s beat
First drop of sweet rain touches the skin
Then a million diamonds fall lit by the lights
The city’s soul cleansed and renewed
Never ending magic filled summer nights.

– niz

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