Dear, Phoenix: I write you this letter to express my current discontent, although it’s not really your fault; it’s mine. This is my third summer wrapped inside your hellish embrace, and every summer, it seems I grow more impatient with you.
Through winter and spring, I adore you. I offer you metaphorical rose bouquets and heart-shaped chocolates from November through to blessed April. We have a good thing going for over half the year, don’t we?
True, I curse you in October, because let’s face it: you have no respect for Halloween. You don’t realize October should smell like clove cigarettes and wet leaves. You don’t understand that the month should be overtaken by spooky gray clouds and thunderstorms. You don’t even know to be cool and crisp at night, so focused are you on your singular goal of being temperate. I understand you want to make everyone happy. You are a people-pleaser, Phoenix, but consider watching a couple horror movies in order to hone your Halloween craft.
I get a little weirded out in December too, because Christmas is supposed to be cold. Last year, I locked myself in my house behind dark plantation shutters. I used the fireplace function on Netflix and turned our TV into a red-orange inferno. I lit all the Christmas lights in the house, including the pine-scented Yankee Candle. I pretended it was snowy outside. I pretended it was cold, because let’s face it, Phoenix: Christmas is supposed to be cold and covered in snow. As a reference, please see National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
From January to April, though, you are a thing of beauty. Flowers bloom early. The skies retain a cerulean hue for endless weeks, and in early spring, the city is overwrought by the sweet smell of orange blossoms. As a populace, we uncover pools and start swimming mid-March. Because we can. By your grace, dear Phoenix, you offer us paradise while other states still cower beneath cloud-cover and melting snow. You are a saint, Phoenix, and we frankly do not deserve you!
What did we do to deserve your summer heat? What offering did we forget to give? What song of praise did we not sing? The fires of hell descend upon us from May through September. Pavement smolders, plants die, and I wilt beneath the merciless summer sun. We say it’s a dry heat. We tell out-of-staters that it’s not that bad, that we can manage the heat because there’s no humidity, but I can admit, I am full of it when I make such claims. I don’t like the summer heat. I don’t want it. Please, Phoenix, take it back.
I cheated on you two weeks ago. I cheated on you with Ohio—a state that is gray six months of the year while the desert sun shines on. Despite horrendous winters, Ohio has something on you, Phoenix. Ohio has warmth but not fire; blue skies that can be enjoyed in the summer, while we in Arizona huddle in air-conditioned homes, praying for respite. Ohio has lush gardens, cool mornings, and cooler nights. Coming back to you was hard after my foray into brief unfaithfulness. As much as I love you, I did not miss you. It pains me to say it, Phoenix, but I only broke your heart because you first broke mine.
You give me sunshine when I want rain. You give me blistering heat when all I want is a cool night. You rob me of seasons because you want me surrounded by sunlight all year round. It’s not your fault; it’s mine. I’m growing older, and the summer heat has become a punishment—your punishment because you know I sometimes long for the east coast, humidity like a rain forest, and summer storms that shake foundations.
I love you, Phoenix, I truly do. Just not today. And possibly not until November.