I never really minded the heat growing up in Arizona. It was just how it was. Cold in the winter and hot in the summer. When I met him, it was a hot summer day. At first, I was curious, and then the thunderbolt hit me. It hit him, too, at exactly the same moment.
He was younger than I was and as beautiful as a Greek god. I was 26, and he was 20. You might wonder what there is to do in the heat of an Arizona summer, I can tell you there is plenty. One night we rented roller skates and skated from downtown Tempe, where I’m from, to my parents’ home south in the suburbs. A test of sorts. They loved him. And I was beginning to.
I was living in a farmhouse south of Phoenix that summer in the middle of an orange grove. It was rustic and isolated. He and I would climb up on the roof at night and look at the stars. It was far enough away from city lights that we had a stellar view. When it was time for him to go home, I cried. That’s when I really knew. It was up on the roof when we first said, “I love you.”
That summer, he had a work opportunity in Southern California, and we decided to formally start a life at the beach. Before we left, we told our parents of our intention to marry.
Our wedding was in the backyard of our new California apartment the next summer. All of the people in our lives that mattered were there. We both cried during our wedding vows. We were married. A new life together. The heat climbed to a newer and different level.
Married life simmered down the heat as we both pursued careers and I went back to school. We commuted long distances for the perfect jobs and like the proverbial ships—we passed each other in the night. The apartment was abandoned for a house closer to the beach. We got a dog. And then a cat. Our house was a very, very nice house, he sang, but we were rarely home. Between jobs, school, and new friends, sleeping was our only time together. I’d love to tell you that the heat went on. But it did not. The love was still there, for certain, but the days of staring at each other for hours were long gone. And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I cannot tell you for certain, but what I can tell you is that there were times, in faraway thoughts, when I did think about and miss the…