Remember summer? Halcyon days full of hot, sunny days by the shore; barely clad boys in tight, revealing white Speedos frolicking on the beach; naked pool parties at midnight; free-balling at the malls… Not this year, darlings. The summer of 2020 will go down in my memoirs as the worst summer yet.
I’ve been fanning myself under the shade of a palm tree watching as my manservant, Clive, and a team of brawny movers pack our urban dwelling belongings and load them on a truck to haul them to Cloister Abbey, my ancestral family estate. Having been recently furloughed from manual labor, I decided it was time to return to basics and attend to family matters I’d much rather leave to the help. But the help being most unhelpful, it came down to me to put matters in order and make certain Cloister Abbey remains firmly in the family and not fall prey to the hands of less capable, vulgar hands.
As such, Clive has been miffed with me for not being more…helpful, as he put it. At every turn from the moving truck he glares over to where I stand fanning myself with a straw fedora and shakes his head in disapproval. I left the organizing, packing, and moving details to him. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, really. Clive’s quite capable of handling matters, and his calisthenics training should make him ready for the exertion of picking up heavy things. The movers are quite taken by his flexing abilities. For some reason they are all fond of taking off their shirts and working up a sweat in the Florida heat, bumping chests and feeling each other’s chest and biceps at every turn from the truck. If our home was a gym, I might think the movers are gay. Clive assures me they are not. Most of them are married, he says, though they keep asking him out for beers after a day’s worth of work. One can only speculate.
For myself I can only say that I’m not happy with the way this season’s turned out. I had plans: naked hikes on Everglades trails; skinny dipping in the Atlantic; a tantric spiritual retreat in Appalachia; pagan initiations in the California wilderness. All gone to naught because of a pesky virus that will not go away with penicillin and because people refuse to be mysterious and not wear a mask. It’s all rather tedious. I’m now left with blank pages in my memoir that I must fill with doodles and moving To Do lists I know I will look back on one day and sigh with disappointment. I wanted summer to be what 2019 was not: happy, carefree, naughty, fun. And yet, here we are in a collective quarantine that lingers not unlike an unwelcome guest.
As I sip my sangria and continue to regard Clive and the movers, I remind myself nothing lasts forever. Things will change. One must not be grim or feel sour at the lost days cooped indoors when pool parties are begging to be had. I know one day I will pull the curtains open in my drawing room, open the doors, and invite my friends in again. Instead of masks, we shall wear nothing but smiles and tell stories of how each of us endured this modern Decameron. We’ll then run and jump into the estate’s pond and frolic the way men do in paintings by John Singer Sargent. That man had the right ideas for a summer gathering.
Fear not, my darlings. All shall be well. Nothing bad lasts forever. All we have to do is cling to each other and be patient. We must learn to appreciate all the things we once took for granted: hugs, kisses, embraces, corporal heat, cuddles, naked naps, and each other’s company — so that when life presents us with the new normal we don’t forget all that is important. Love, brotherhood, and sensuality will return to once again remind us of all the pleasures of summer!