The Paris Review

On Summer Crushing

Whitney Houston in 1991

Friends and heartthrobs of the past, future, and present: where I am now, the temperature has begun its slow climb, and summer is preparing its eviction notice for all the gentle breezes and drives with windows down and the incessant joyful choir of birds. We will soon have to settle for less pleasing aesthetics of romance. Sweat becomes romantic because it will happen whether or not I want it to, and I’ve got to make the best of it. During summer in Ohio, the storms come briefly, but violently, and seemingly out of nowhere. The sun will be out as you make your way to the car, but by the time you arrive at your destination, you’re trapped in a parking lot with torrents of rainwater collapsing on your windshield. I think I would like to call this moment romantic, too, for all the times I’ve sat outside of a grocery store, or a bar, or an ice cream shop, turning up a song that reminded me of someone in hopes that the music and the memory might intersect and silence the downpour.

It is a privilege to have seasons. Sometimes, in Columbus, Ohio, we don’t

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