Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Summer was cool- she had amazing style, great taste, ask anyone- but she didn't play it cool, she didn't play fucking games. She was a thousand percent up front and full on. She didn't withhold, she didn't passive-aggressively disappear into silence. She would be up three timezones away as I hopped  a cross-continental flight at dawn. Waiting to board at JFK to be by her side, she would text me, every time. "How are you, baby?! On your way yet?! I can't sleep- too excited! Can't wait to kiss you!!" Every time. This is one of the thousand things I must say to try and explain who this incredible woman was. How completely she loved me. And how I ache and always will until I may once again be in her arms...

Friday, December 14, 2012

No Show...

Somehow today in the midst of the tragedy in CT, I had a thought. The first was from the West Wing - "the streets of Heaven are too crowded with angels". Summer gave me The West Wing. Summer gave me everything. And somehow, wandering the streets today I remembered that I haven’t been to a show, haven;t seen a band, outside of our own gigs, since Summer died. The last one was here in NYC, her last visit, when we saw Broken Social Scene together. I had tix for Low in Phiily on my birthday that year but I wound up speaking at her memorial instead. Her eulogy on my birthday. Life is hard to fathom. I know today brings that to light for many. I already know. And I believe one needs faith combined with science (energy: read soul, read who we are -once created, cannot be destroyed). We can’t know now, cannot yet know, what we will find after death. But faith, faith, faith. Oh, my sweetheart - love you forever.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

To my sweetheart...

Little sweetheart, pretty little girl – I miss you so.

The record is almost ready to go. Finally! The smaller insert posters will finally be here tomorrow and everything will be ready to go out on Tuesday. The large ones will arrive and the digital version will be online by the end of the week. Friday after next, we play our first gig without you. We’ll play all these songs, the whole double-record for you. In sequence. Twice! It’s our night. We don’t have to do the shorter club set.

Eva is our new bassist. You’d be friends, little sweetie. She’s a NoCal girl, too. Serious and fun and nice and really good. She’s also, like Sean, a whiz with graphics. She’s helping us with that now, too. And I had a meeting with her tonight. She’s such a trouper. The weather is changing now and everybody is getting sick. Eva got felled by whatever the hell this thing is (and we had to cancel a mini-show here on Saturday. Our sorta “warm-up”), we’ll be fine. She could totally use a prescription from your Dad but she’s stubborn (sound familiar?) and wants to sweat it out on over-the-counter stuff (I grabbed an order for her at CVS) and tea. I did say she’s from Cali, right?

Anyway, we did good work tonight. She walked me through a buncha stuff so I can do an e-blast and we worked up some actual physical postcards for printing that we’ll have to announce the release of Of Love & Loss day after tomorrow and the NYC release party at Zirzamin on October 26. I wanna tell you all about that, too – the guy who booked us, Jack Martin, is fantastic. Such a good man and a terrific guitarist and lost his love, Pandora, just like I lost you, a buncha years ago and so he knows. He’s been moved to play the (instrumental) songs he wrote for her (they were also bandmates & lovers)  for the first time in a decade in support. It’s to honour you, little sweetie. I so wish you were here. More on all that and this beautiful room that you would love to sing in.

But what I wanted to say tonight is that while I was at Eva’s and she was uploading files, I showed her a couple of videos of you. The record and our practice space (my apartment, the holy place I shared with you) are filled with pictures. Your voice is predominant on the record. But she had never seen you in “motion”, as it were. I showed her the video of you playing “Blue Blurry Eyes” and the one of you driving the dune buggy on July 4 on the Oregon Coast. I loved watching it, of course, but kept working. About 20 minutes later and looking at all our graphics, maybe because we’re days away, maybe because it’s always with me, I burst into, not just tears, but horrible sobs. You would be so glad that Eva was so kind and held me, tried to comfort me. She’s such a good person. You would be pals. And so good together in the band. After I kinda collected myself, however selfish, it seemed like a good time to read the speech I wrote for your memorial. I carry it with me everywhere and always. It’s still impossible and somehow perfect that it was held on my birthday. On a day that more than any other I should have been able to hold you. Oh my, girl…

I’m trying the best that I can, little sweetie. I miss you so much. I can almost touch our life, it’s still so familiar. I only wanna wake up and be with you. Oh, sweetheart!

I packed up my stuff and walked back west. Listened to the Giants rally but lose. Texted your Dad. Worked online.

All my life, whatever remains, is for you, trying to return to you, preparing myself. Help me, if you can, okay? Remember when we were together and you would shift your hips, headed for the kitchen or just anywhere only for an instant? Remember that I would always say “don’t go too far away?” Remember that, my little sweetheart? My True Love. My Best Friend. Please, sweetheart – don’t go too far away!

My “epiphany” in therapy last week was a religious one – I need to invite you to be with me always. I say it at your grave whenever I visit. I know you are everywhere. That you only alight there when I arrive to meet me. It’s always so hard to leave. I can only do it begging you to come with me. I know you do. I just have to be mindful, always make sure you come along, invite you. Be with me, Summer. Always. And soon I will cross over. Until that day. Until that day…

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Magical Everyday

Was remembering two things about Summer just now that made my heart glow and simultaneously ache for her. First, how she would call out to me from another room, generally sprawled belly down, legs scissoring the air, typing something, an email, probably, on her AirBook and asking me how to spell something. Loved that. Makes me smile. And secondly, very early on when we first got together how she planted a dozen tiny kisses on my neck, high up near the top of my jaw line and then brought her eyes in close to mine and said, “Isn’t that nice? Do you like that?”. And it was. Very nice. And, it was, of course, also her way of telling me that this is exactly what she would like me to do her. So, I immediately did, of course, and immediately found that she was wildly ticklish in that exact spot, squirming and shrieking with delight and torture as I planted a thousand kisses somewhat relentlessly and entirely worshipfully. Both of these things that I think of just now used to simply be part of my everyday life. Spellcheck and ticklish neck kissing duties among a thousand tasks cheerfully, gratefully performed for and with my Miracle Girl. What a beautiful, magical thing to have that just be one’s everyday. Oh, how I miss you, my little sweetheart. How terribly I miss you, my gorgeous girl. But someday, right? Someday soon. Love you forever….

Friday, September 14, 2012


Summer wanted me to have, of all things at my Mom's, an enormous red couch and its two hassocks, thinking maybe there was room in my apartment somehow. I think it would've had to have been craned in, the way they used to get pianos into urban dwellings and even then a window would probably have been needed to be cut larger. Once inside, it would've taken up the entire floor space of the largest room, the front room, of my rent-stabilised, railroad hovel. Everything else here would've had to have been mounted on the walls to make room. Her feet, our feet, would never have touched the floor, and entering this room, one would have ascended onto the higher red cushioned level, a foot ladder probably necessary. It is doubtless a testament to my adoration for her that I was seriously considering trying to work this all out and move this ginormous piece of home furnishing 600 miles across the country simply because it would please her to have it in our home. And that is why. I loved- and still do - having her things around me. I loved, I lived for her making this her home. I knew, I know, that my home was only and will always be simply with her. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Emotional morning after a moody sad night. Walked into town. About an hour's journey on foot. Crossed the road at one point because I could see what I thought was a big dog in the yard ahead. Got closer and discovered it was was a grazing deer. Saw a butterfly near the centre line. Rescued it to a log near the shoulder. Crossed the bridge into town. Looked around. Found, incredibly, a necklace that said "Summer". I mean you expect to see ones that read "Jane" or "Cathy" but... why was that there when I looked? Bought it. Wandered through the faux Bavarian village. Clock stores and bookstores and Christmas ornament stores and jewelry stores and salt water taffy. Finally about time to eat. Bratwurst everywhere but what I really wanted was just a tuna sandwich and a beer. No chance.  Last place I looked, equally Germanic -called Gustavs for fucksake - had just that. Albacore tuna salad on rye, 22 oz locally brewed IPA on tap. Potato salad and a fresh pickle on the side. Perfect. How did that happen? Downloaded the Marshall Crenshaw song I heard the other day in the grocery store with Summer's dad that made me cry. Decided to go back across the street and get another necklace for Summer's mom. Walking there, as I approach, hear one of Summer's favourite songs, MGMT's "Time to Pretend" coming out of speakers nearby.  Meant to be. Get the second necklace and walk back to the festival site listening to the Crenshaw and the first disc of "OF LOVE & LOSS". Quick shower and into evening rehearsal. The cast working so hard and having fun. Our terrific director. Our devoted stage manager. The lovely festival staff. So grateful to be here. Know so very well that my girl, my love, my Summer was with me all day - helping me, showing me, encouraging me. Making sure I know she's keeping as close as she can, letting me know she just wants me to use the time I have left here well, just letting me know I'll be with her again very soon, just have to finish up my work here the way I'm supposed to and how she'd want. Thank you sweetheart. Love you forever.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Heading West tomorrow. First to NoCal and then on to Seattle. Can't go into SFO anymore. Can't even fly Virgin. Gotta go JetBlue. Miss my girl too painfully much otherwise. The memories- waiting downstairs at the kiss and ride for her Blue Prius to pull around the corner, waving through the windshield. Running toward her, my bags in tow. Dropping them as she jumped out of the car, invariably dressed in dark, tight little yoga pants, a cute little tshirt (maybe her anchor one), her pretty long red hair up held in place by tiny clips or maybe just a pencil, no make up, big blue eyes filled with love and shy surprise, the guileless smile that could knock a man down, leaping into my arms and kissing and kissing and kissing me. And then asking if I would drive... Love you forever. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I had a really bad late afternoon today. Just overwhelmed by grief and sobbing. Sometimes I think in a corner of my  heart, I truly believe somehow that Summer really will just magically reappear and this nightmare will be over, our life able to resume. When that little piece I hold quietly, secretly falls away, in those moments I truly cannot cope...

I got undressed and turned off the lights and got into bed at 6pm, weeping uncontrollably. I tried to get somebody on the phone. But no one answered. I finally cried myself to sleep. It was still daylight. I woke up an hour later, put on some clothes and went for a walk. Went for beer, if you want to know the truth. I held out all day and what good did it do me, ya know? I'd already gotten completely hysterical stone cold sober. How much worse could it get? Famous last words, I know. 

I've been drinking this IPA made in Petaluma. Like everything- like rooting for the Giants, like listening to Bay Area NPR, like buying more UC Davis tshirts, like shopping for a Blue Prius- every thought is trying to reclaim my lost life with Summer. Anyway, this beer, Lagunitas it's called- they're out of it at D'Agostino's. I try Gristedes. No go. Finally, I locate some at the Food Emporium. It's warm but I can stick it the freezer for an hour. Maybe I'll manage to get some writing done while I'm waiting, right? 

I step up to the cashier but this very excited lady steps in front of me and asks the girl behind the register, "Where's the bagel place?" 
The girl looks up, baffled. Um... "
"You know. Where you get the bagels."
 The girl winds up, "Uh, upstairs, I think." 

We're in the basement. You have to take an escalator down a flight from 8th Ave to enter the Food Emporium. Very clever. Very cheeky. "Upstairs".

The girl starts ringing me up. The lady isn't going anywhere. 
"What place are you looking for?," I ask. Lots of places have bagels". 
The lady is happy to continue.
"Oh, you know. For the morning. " 
"For breakfast?"
"Well, there's a pretty good diner at 52nd & 8th. They got decent bagels. And really any deli..."
"Is it called the Starshine? Or Starlight? Star-something?”
"Yeah, I think, that's right"
A line is beginning to form behind me. I swipe my card and wait to sign. 
"I was really hoping for a bakery, you know? Where they make them fresh".
"Well, there was this great place on the Upper West Side, called H & H. They were the best but they closed last year."
"Oh, NO!", she says dejectedly.
She's starting to feel the eyes of the queue filing up behind her. I scrawl my ridiculous, indecipherable signature with the little black plastic pen on the touchscreen. 
"I know. They were there for like 50 years. But hey, any deli is gonna have a decent bagel. And definitely that diner on 52nd in the morning."
"Okay," she says cheering slightly.
"And, hey, you're in New York. You gotta shop around, try a buncha places."
"Thank you", she says smiling and heading toward the escalator. 

She's going upstairs. That's where the bagels are, you know… 

I grab my plastic bag, turning to the people staring at me. 
"Tourist Board", I say. 
I walk up the escalator. The excited lady is still there near the door. I stop her. 
"Hey," I say, "There is actually a really great bakery at 44th & 9th."
"I'm not sure if they do bagels. But croissants, cupcakes, sandwiches , muffins, everything fresh. It's called Amy's Bread"
"Yeah. And like I said, it's New York. Ya gotta... The Carnegie Delicatessen..."
"Of COURSE!", she says beaming, walking away.
"On 5th...", I call after her carrying home my warm Petaluma beer. 

And you cannot tell me that stopping and thinking and helping this woman who is probably in her mid-fifties and maybe on her own and on her way back to her hotel room at the Hilton Garden across the street and just so excited to be in New York and to have a bagel in the morning, you cannot tell me that that did not just happen and that Summer wasn't there for every second of it, because I fucking well feel her. And that little piece in my heart that keeps me safe, that keeps me from completely dissolving into despair, that thing that tells me that she is not gone is somehow right. Because I can feel her in that moment and know I will be with her again. I just have to get through this. And if I do it right and listen closely she will tell me how. Love you, little sweetheart. Love you forever.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Weeping for hours tonight and just saying, "I need you, I need my sweetheart, I need to talk to my little sweetie, please, please..." Life is nothing without you. I miss you and only want to die, myself. Please come for me, Summer. My pretty girl. My True Love. My Best Best Friend. My everything. Love you forever...

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A friend told me today that in French, you don’t really say “I miss you.” You say “tu me manques,” which is closer to “you are missing from me" Perfect. “You are missing from me.” You are a part of me, you are essential to my being. You are like a limb, or an organ, or blood. I cannot function without you. Yes. Exactly right. You are missing from me, my little sweetheart. Love you forever.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Too Scared to Live in a World Without Her...

When Summer was 14 she played Dorothy in a famous production of "The Wizard of Oz" at Chico Light Opera. Local Wunderkind Coy Middlebrook directed it and he was essentially a member of the Serafin family from that day on. There are some stills from that production but sadly, no recordings, video or audio. Summer always promised she would sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for me one day. It's another one of those things that we just never got to have. Although one day we went for an epically long walk through Golden Gate park, stopping at the windmill and then on to dinner at a beautiful place overlooking the ocean. There was a little trio playing and at one point they had an instrumental go at the song. Sitting across from Summer, I took her hand and my eyes filled with tears... I've been thinking all day of something from Summer's memorial. Coy organized and emceed it. And he and the two men who had played the Scarecrow and The Cowardly Lion wrote a short scene which they performed. It found them breaking the news to each other, as it finally reached Oz, that Dorothy had died. The Lion says, at one point that he's "too scared to live in a world without Dorothy." That is exactly as I've felt all day. Not just sick with grief, not just trembling with loss, but scared. Too scared to live in a world without Summer. I guess I'll just have a quiet night and try to sleep and maybe tomorrow will be better. Probably not but what else can I do, sweetheart, right? Until that day. Until that day. 

I have awoken a thousand mornings weeping, yanked out of a dream where we were once again together, only to find another day in this lonely world without you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When my mom died and Summer met me in Detroit, her coming from SF and me from London, at the end of the day, after my con-man brother had gone and my okay brother, Sam, was alone with us, even though we were all exhausted, I asked him if we could take Summer to the lake and see moms little cottage there. It was about a 45 minute drive. She loved that little place (both "she's" - my mom loved it and so did Summer as soon as she saw it, Sam was ready to sell it but she said right away, "you have to keep this, baby, you can rent it when no one's here, my mom will know what to do, and you could write here and we could visit sometimes... don't sell it") and we took our shoes off and dangled our feet in the water and she took a bunch of pictures with my phone and I gave her a few pieces of my moms costume jewelry and a couple of skeleton keys we found in a big box and we sat out in the dock and I said "Mom would be so happy that we're here now, all of us. I wish she'd just come out from the house and say, "how about some root beer floats?". After we locked up and got in our cars, Sam in his truck, Summer & I in Mom's Ford Escape, we saw a roadside ice cream place and pulled off. We ordered root beer floats. Summer ordered hers with non-fat frozen yogurt. And then drank half of mine because that was definitely a mistake. I think we slept for about 13 hours after that...

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7...

Five years ago on this day, at the University of Minnesota Transplant Center, Summer underwent the surgeries that saved and changed her life. 6 months later we met and she saved and changed mine. Miss you, my little sweetheart. And love you forever.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wake up...

Repair dudes coming by the apt this morning, one of those btw 7am-noon deals, so up early for the mess that I am and back down for a nap by noon. Band practice @1:30pm. Feel a hand on my shoulder shaking me awake. Immediately rousted, seemingly alone, but learning to know better. Summer didn't want me to be late. Thanks, baby. Thank you sweetheart. I feel you. I miss you. And I love you forever.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 26th...

Today coming back from a run along the Hudson, walking home east of the river path back in the thick of traffic along 10th Ave, right at the exact intersection where I had the run-in last fall with the Angry Bicyclist, I see a blind man at the corner, tapping along the gutter with a cane, trying to cross the street.

I asked, “Do you need any help, sir?” and he said 
“Yes! Yes, thank you. I’m trying to cross the street. This is 55th, isn’t it?”. 
“Yes”, I say, “and we have the light”.

I extend my arm to him, arm to arm, so he can feel it alongside and take it. I don’t just grab his arm. I know not to do that. Ya know? I saw Scent of a Woman. Pacino and I even share the same birthday (yesterday). Lesson learned. Hoo-ah! Boy’s alive!

After we cross 55th, he says, “I’m just going to the D’Agostino’s market”. 
“D’Agostino’s is just halfway down the block. Are you okay?” I ask “Or would you like me to take you to the door?” 
“Oh, if you could help me,” he says, “that would be so kind”.

So I do. We nearly get knocked down by some guy flying out of Dunkin Donuts but pull up just in time. I take him to the automated doors and he makes his way inside thanking me and saying “Have a good day”.

I walk on wanting more than anything to call Summer and tell her all of this. But then in that moment I have a feeling that somehow she knows. And I tap my chest with my fist in the place where I felt that and look at the sky and say, “I love you, sweetheart”.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25...

April 25th. It used to be the day my grandfather, Hiriam Louis Milligan, baker, sentimentalist, antic soul (I told Summer almost from the first time we spoke that he would have adored her) - the epitome of Irish America – would decorate a cake for me, two layers, his strong tattooed forearms squeezing icing out of a pastry gun. A Louie cake was a total cert, a lock, if the day fell on a weekend. If it fell on a weekday, my mom would bake peanut butter cookies, pack them up along with a big bag of Tootsie Roll Pops and send me off to school- a post-recess treat for all my classmates. The added inclusion of the Tootsie Roll Pops was because Amy Cottier had a well known peanut allergy. Also, now that I think of it, her brother died when she was in 4th grade. I remember the teacher telling us in hushed tones once she’d left the room. Summer would’ve gotten on with her, too – the first kid I knew like myself who had a too early sense of their own mortality, a taste of tragedy in their mouth before they were ten. Amy was in my class from Kindergarten through 5th grade. I walked her home once. And got in trouble for crossing the Anthony Wayne Trail without permission.

Subsequent years found other rituals, most involving heavy drinking. A surprise party one year at Mike’s, a long-now-defunct bar on 10th Avenue, in the halcyon days of EST, even Curt was there. By the end, everyone was surly as hell and sniping at each other. Pretty goddamn hilarious in retrospect. Another year, the year I moved to New York but went back to DC for the day, I got mugged in broad daylight 4 blocks from the White House, just outside the McPherson Square Metro Station and spent a couple of hours in the GW emergency room getting my nose re-attached to my face. (“They can’t all be winners”, Summer wrote me, years later, the first year we were together but couldn’t be on this day.) In ’96 Uncle played at CBGB’s on the day. A surviving recording off the sound board includes our closer, a hopped-up cover of The Beatles’ “I Don’t Wanna Spoil the Party” by way of the Ramones and tells you everything you need to know about that band, far more than even the two records we released in the late 90’s.

Doubtless, the best April 25 of them all was the one spent with Summer in 2009. She took me to see Death Cab for Cutie in Sacramento. She stood in front of me and I wrapped my arms around her. We sang along to every song, crying and kissing over her shoulder and crazy in love. Then we decamped to the beautiful house in Davis where she made absurdly complicated and delicious chocolate chocolate chocolate molten chocolate with chocolate frosting and more chocolate cupcakes and we dozed on couches and in the garden and in her amazing bedroom and used up the bath bombs we got at Lush in Carmel in her spa and I cooked for her and we watched movies and drank each other in for several days. It was, like every day spent with her, the best part of my life.

Last year, of course, it fell on the day of Summer’s memorial. She was meant to be here in New York. We had tickets to see Low in Philadelphia at this great venue we’d heard about but had never been. It was a Monday, so it would be our day off – we were meant to be workshopping a new play of mine that week, Summer in the leading role. Instead, I was in San Francisco, at Brava, giving her eulogy. My friend Kim said at the time, when she found out that Summer’s memorial would be held on my birthday, that it was “somehow perfect”. At the time, I couldn’t quite hear that. I wasn’t mad or anything. I just didn’t see it. Now, today, I do. Of course. Of course.

What could this day ever be, what could this day ever mean now without Summer? Choke down some cake? Oh, sure. Drinking heavily... well, that’s not so good but the jury’s out. Fuck. I dunno. I was sober for 8 1/2 years. Summer used to tell me “I don’t believe you’re an alcoholic. I don’t get this. I think you should be able to have a drink. Like when you’re with me. And when you’re happy. Maybe only, at least, when you’re happy.” Summer wasn’t perfect, we didn’t always agree and she wasn’t always right. But damn near. Damn near. I’ll try, sweetie. 

What I do know is that Kim was right. What better way to observe it – indeed, what else – than to eulogize, to remember her, to speak of and think of her. Of Summer, of the girl who found me and saved me and changed my life. If only I knew what to do with what’s left of it. Without her. Without you, sweetheart. Oh, my girl! Beautiful, brilliant, miracle Summer. Until that day. Until that day...

Michael Louis Serafin-Wells April 25, 2012 - New York City 

Monday, March 26, 2012


In Seattle for a workshop of a play I wrote, in part, for Summer. Last time we were here together. Missing you so, my love. Always, always yours...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One Year...

One year ago today, The Light went out. My love, my treasure, my brilliant, gorgeous girl. Love you forever.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My angel...

"...When my mom died last year, I was in London. I got the news in the middle of the night. I was alone. I called Summer, eight hours behind, here. When I told her, she burst into tears. And then told me to get on Skype. “I want to see you drink an entire glass of water”, she said. “And lie down. And try to sleep. I’ll be right here at my computer watching you. I will watch you while you sleep.” She watched over me like an angel, a cyber angel, and when I woke she was there with Linda getting me on a plane to New York and then on to Michigan. Then Summer flew herself to Detroit and waited in the airport all night to meet my plane. And was at my side every day for a week while I buried my mother. Who does that? Serafin love. Irrepressible, irreplaceable girl..."

-from my memorial speech for Summer. Thinking of her so much today and every day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Last Day

The last day. I heard those words escape my mouth as I spoke to Danya in the hallway of SF Gen outside the ICU while we waited to see her. To see Summer, still alive, sitting upright, looking beautiful, looking only asleep. You couldn’t tell. My beautiful girl, only gorgeous. Even this couldn’t take that from her. Even if it could take her from me. From us. Her heartbroken already-lost-a-child-seen-too-much unimpeachable parents. No one ever had better parents. Genius hippies, UCLA champion athletes, turned doctors and novelists. Doting – I’ve said this before – would-take-a-bolt-of-lightening-for-parents. No one has parents like this. No, not even you. And Summer was so proud of them and grateful. Only a girl like her could have come from them –the finest man and woman I have ever known. Of course. Summer. Of course….
The last day. A year ago today. We woke – Summer & I – entwined. She liked to sleep on her side, her head on my chest and hold my hand. We remained that way as we woke.…
Later, I was making coffee. Summer & I ran lines for Blackbird. We had rehearsal at noon. We made our way downstairs and outside to the Rendezvous – the car I was borrowing from her parents while in town. Summer’s infamous, battle-scarred Prius remained in its parking space in the building’s garage. Hours later, I would be running down those stairs to her fallen side. Just now, she was hoisting her hoodie overhead, vigilantly protecting her amino-suppresant, perfect ivory skin. “My sunhat is in my car”, she said, dashing to the Rendezvous looking nothing less than like Zorro.
We drove to the Mission. We were in the wrong place. The space was double-booked. The director (Michael French – aka: “Frenchie”) made a call while we ran lines. Summer was tired and worried. She was doing another play – an adaptation of On The Waterfront at San Jose Stage – and this was a huge role. 86 pages. Two characters. She was freaking out. She was already brilliant, but she was worried about lines. It was happening too fast. We ran lines while Frenchie booked us rehearsal space at ACT – where Summer taught, where Summer had appeared in Stoppard’s Rock n Roll (and later on tour in Boston – she loved that job and was goddamn brilliant – I saw it 4 times in SF and 3 times in Boston), where Summer had been a teenage hero. I drove us there, parked us in the garage at Powell Street and we had the best rehearsal so far.
Blackbird is intimidating. We were blocked through pg 66. We rocked it. I know Summer felt it. We had two and a half weeks. We were gonna get there. Relief! We drove back to the Mission. Frenchie had a meeting there. Summer went to CVS to buy coconut water, the little sweetie. I found rush hour sidestreet parking and was on my phone to my New York landlord trying to schedule some bullshit because, apparently, the radiator in my ancient 5th floor walkup had fallen into the apartment below. Swell. While I was talking, Summer beeped in – it was her last text to me. It said: “What’s going on? Can we go home?”. I ask myself this question everyday. I hung up and told her where I was. I found her. Do you wanna get some groceries and go home or do you want to go out to eat? Or both, I asked her.
It was early. Not even 5pm yet. We went to Andronico’s. I stopped her in the parking lot on the way in. We had done this before – caught in an embrace an older woman on her way back to her car had seen us and said “Oh, my god, I can’t take it! You are so cute!”. What can I say, it’s California. People aren’t so immediately assey. So resentful that someone might have found True Love. If only, I tell myself, if only I can, even after this, keep, grow some more California in my soul. I’ve said that more than once. Nobody ever knows what the fuck I’m talking about. Maybe I need some new friends. Maybe I need the girl who showed me that. Maybe I need my One True Love. Maybe I Just need Summer.
I grabbed her in the parking lot. I told her that I loved her. That I loved being with her. That I loved shopping with her. I said stuff like this to Summer all the time. I said it a few more times while we were actually in the store – sneaking her into the Men’s room because the Ladies was full, talking to the girl at the Cheese counter because Summer was flush – “I’ve got four cheques from four different theatres- I’m working!" – in the cookies aisle because there were Ginger Snaps, back in the parking lot because she’d been singing Adele all day.
I grabbed her again, lightly mocking the way she dropped from head voice into chest voice in the chorus of “Rolling in the Deep”. “I love it when you sing”, I said to her. We drove home to her apartment at Irving & 7th in the Inner Sunset…
It was our last day. I said it, unbelieving, unaccepting, to Danya outside the ICU. But we were happy, working, in love. The beautiful life. I yearn for nothing but to be with her. To find us again.
Love you, my girl, my sweetheart, my One True Love, my only one, my beautiful, brilliant Summer, my Gingersnap, my redhead, my lover, my partner, my soul mate. It’s all for you, baby. Until that day. Until that day… Love you forever xo-m

In spirit...

Just back from Choral Evensong service I like to attend at beautiful, historic St Thomas Church on 5th & 53rd. They have a wonderful Men & Boys Choir and a truly lovely programme. An NYC alternative to London's St Paul's. I like to sit and cry and hear the music, the lesson, the readings and quietly say Summer's name, and whisper prayerfully to my little sweetheart, little sweetie. We will be together again someday...

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Another hospital dream. Summer is in a private room. It's okay for me to go in. I find her in a bed but not attached to any tubes or anything. And she's not laying down. She's sorta kneeling in the bed and stretching. She can't talk and she looks confused. I'm not sure she knows me but I burst into tears. I ask her if she remembers me. All the things we are to each other. At first she looks puzzled, startled, but then something comes into her eyes, it's love. She knows me. She can't talk but I don't think it's a brain thing. She just can't speak. But she is in there. She has memory. And her face, her beautiful face, the look of recognition, she has cognition. It's still her in there. It's going to be okay...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


March approaches. In an hour or two. The 8th was Summer's fall. The 18th the day she passed. A couple months ago - I wrote of this somewhere, probably not here - I was at her grave. I'd been there for an hour or so. It was dark. A car pulled up. I said to her "Here come your parents, sweetheart". It was her Dad on his own. I stood up as he approached and soon fell into his arms. "You really loved her", he said. "I still do", I cried. Somewhere I wrote this. But the next thing he said was "we can't just do this (grieve inconsolably) for decades. It'll be a year in March but then..." And he trailed off because how we can we not? What can be done? We'll all try to try harder, sweetheart. But life is so lonely, the world so empty and wrong without you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


There's so much music that I can't bear to listen to anymore because it was so dear to Summer & I together. DCFC, The National, Bon Iver, Goldfrapp are a few. Nothing in those catalogs is safe. With some other groups it's just one very specific record. The last Radiohead for one. Some of it is inescapable - Adele's "21" had just come out this time last year and Summer was singing "Rolling in the Deep" all the time. She was singing it on our last day, hours before she fell. Needless to say, this has not been a good year for avoiding Adele. Anyway, last night I was at dinner with some friends. A song came on. A song I don't even like. "Human" by The Killers. But the last time- indeed, perhaps every time I heard it before - I was with Summer, I was in the midst of our beautiful life. Maybe driving her to rehearsal or waiting for our take-out order at Crepevine on Irving Street or grocery shopping at Andronico's like we did on the last day. I sat there listening to this song, this song I don't even like, this song I probably mildly mocked the last time I heard it ("Are we human or are we dancer?" Really? Really?) and I started to tremble and tear up and just weep. I miss you. I miss you. God, I miss you, my sweetheart...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No one...

Whenever we went out to eat, instead of sitting across from me, Summer would always slide in on the same side and sit next to me. No one else ever did that. No one else ever did a lot of things...

Saturday, February 18, 2012


In Lenox, MA on roadtrip to Shakespeare & Co. Packed my Northface vest because it's meant to be cold up here. Putting it in this morning I felt something in the right pocket. It was a Virgin America boarding pass JFK to SFO, dated Feb 12, 2011 - my last flight to see Summer, one year ago. Miss you, little sweetheart. Love you forever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Remembering my first Valentines Day with Summer... February 14, 2009. Her parents rented a big beautiful house in Lake Tahoe and we all met up there. When we "went to the snow" we always call it. A couple days earlier, Summer & I were walking past Macy's on her way to ACT and she saw this cute bra and panty set in the window. It was black and pink/red polka dot. I went back and got it for her and gave them to her when I picked her up in the car on our way to leave town. She was teaching that day. We stopped to get gas high up in the mountains and I bought her a pair of Valentine sunglasses. She had a really nice pair of shades, so these became her spare set. We went snowmobiling on trails for hours and made delicious meals in the huge kitchen and the first night we all sat down to dinner together- they were about 15 of us - Mike (Summer's dad) said "I just want to say that I read something this week that I really liked. It's Michael's play Seven Pages Unsigned. It was smart and funny and I really cared about all the characters. And I had a little tear in my eye by the end". I think that was maybe the nicest thing anyone ever said about my work and the most generous, kind thing anyone ever did in public. We had the most wonderful time. It snowed so much- we got 60 inches in a day and a half. The day we left, everyone had gone but Summer, her parents and I. We stayed for another hour or two and they all told me at the greatest length I had yet heard the story of Summer's double organ transplant. We had to have chains on the tires of our cars, the snow was so heavy. I drove Summer's Prius, following Mike & Linda through the mountains. At a pass up there, there was a roadside stop where guys would quickly take off your chains for you. We did that and in a hour were back in sunny mild NoCal. We stopped for gas and Mike said to me, "you're a very good driver. Much better than Summer. Don't tell her I said that." The Bon Iver record had just come out. We listened to it in the car, Summer & I, singing along, singing to each other, me in tears even tho there wasn't anything then to cry about. I was so happy, that's all. The second to last song ends with the line "your love will be safe with me". I promise, Summer said to me. I promise...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feb 13

A still of Summer from my short film, Two From the Line. One year ago today I was in SF for its first screening. The next day, Valentines. Didn't know these would be our last weeks together. Love you forever, little sweetheart.

Friday, February 3, 2012

More on the lost life...

It seems I’ve settled, however uneasily, into my life in New York. It’s a solitary one, to be sure. Maybe I’m not so settled as I hesitantly now concede. I do spot the signs of an earlier planned migration. I bought a dozen, indeed, maybe two dozen, plastic storage bins 3 years ago when I thought I might move to SF. I had someone here on a (largely illegal) sublet and had boxed up much of my books, journals and CD’s - the things I thought I might ultimately want at the ready for a cross country van trip. I went to SF for 5 months but work called me back to NYC. I never really said “no” to a move but Summer sometimes let slip she thought I had. Last year at this time she was all but resolved to move here, so I have that as both a comfort and an endless pang of longing - to have her here.

Anyway, the boxes remain, mostly re-unpacked, but stacked and a few still with their contents, an aching reminder of what could have been. What perhaps even should have been. The regret! Anything now to have one more moment with her. To have thrown over everything, gotten a job at a video store and lived in a tiny flat above it, just to be near her always. I know that’s not where we were going. I know why she loved me, I know that she was ready, even, finally, to come here. But it hurts. It all hurts. I miss her so.

There’s a picture, a blurry one, of Summer on her last visit here. I was in the front room and heard her padding her way in from the kitchen. I wanted to film her but my iPhone was set to still instead of video. What I got was a grainy shot of her in her pajamas, coming into the room - the aforementioned plastic bins stacked in the background and what somehow looks like wings at her back. My angel. I call this picture “Resurrection”. Resurrection One, actually (I’ll post it here, forthwith). I find myself mindfully (as opposed to mindlessly) perusing Tumblr for shots as resonant as this on the same subject - Summer and her resurrection, our reunion beyond the immediate knowledge of those things solely mortal…

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


All of my/our friends who can bring themselves to talk to me, either push a book into my hands ( some good ones, to be honest - Rob Sheffield's "Love is a Mix Tape", Patti Smith's "Just Friends" and everything ever written by Joan Didion) or urge me to travel. Travel? Where? Anywhere Summer & I went would prove too painful, I think. And anywhere I had never been would prove so horribly lonesome because I would only wish she were there. Still, somehow, I find myself going to Seattle for a workshop reading of a new play of mine at ACT in March. Summer & I had some unforgettable times together in Seattle but inexplicably I think it's going to be okay. Maybe because her parents are coming up for it, too. Still, always, of course, so hard finding my way...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hold Me Tight

Remembered this morning, one time when Summer and I were watching a movie at home and holding hands, we didn't realize until the film was over, hours later, how tight we'd been griping each other. Not even a scary movie (I think it might've been Moulin Rouge) Just so happy, relieved, and maybe a little extra emphatically so, to be together...

Friday, January 20, 2012


January is the month in which I lost both my father (Dean) and and my mentor (Curt). Further, my mom died just 10 months prior to Summer's fall.

As Gertrude says in Hamlet:

"One woe doth tread upon another's heel/So fast they follow"

It's really all too much. Still, all previous, extant grief was dwarfed by the loss of my One True Love. As it should be. As it should be.

Mom, Dad, Curt - please look after my beautiful girl, won't you? Until that day. Until that day...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Of Love & Loss"

Played rough mixes of upcoming BPX record Of Love & Loss for our friend Emily today. Very moved. Hoping to finish mixes and release early spring. Summer sings on several tracks - the first batch we recorded. Final will be a mix of studio & home recordings. Likely a double EP. Of, about and for our fallen bandmate, the love of my life, the light we still look to. More news soon, both here and at the band's website. Love you forever...

Monday, January 16, 2012


I wrote this about Summer one day when I was with her in SF. I remembered it today so I'm sharing here again:

"She just... she has the most beautiful spirit. Sometimes, I'll hear her singing softly in the next room. I'll quietly get up to go listen in the open doorway. And I'll find her propped up, chin resting in her palm, sprawled belly down across the bed, her legs scissoring the air, working on her laptop, totally unawares. She doesn't even know she's singing. I just look at her and feel my heart break in two. With gratitude for a change..."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't go too far away...

Used to say to Summer - sometimes if she was just going into the next room but just as often if she was only shifting over a foot to reach for a tissue or to grab a sip of Virgil's Diet Root Beer from the nightstand - "don't go too far away". Don't go too far away, baby. Keep finding me in dreams and waking hours. Keep finding me until you can take me with you...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

With Summer at home...

NYC, April 2010


In Feb '09, Summer in Seattle for a reading of my play Seven Pages Unsigned at Seattle Rep.


In NYC after a performance of "Lenin's" Off-Broadway - Feb 2010.

With Summer after DCFC on my b'day...

DCFC was such an important band to Summer & I. This pic was taken on my b'day. Summer took us to see DCFC in Sacramento and we're back at her house in Davis. One of the happiest moments of my life...

With Summer in Ireland...

The trip we talked about taking from the first week we met. Finally got there - West Cork, Oct 2010. Many more of these to come...

With Summer in Carmel

What I said...

Here follows what I wrote and spoke at Summer's memorial at San Francisco's Brava Theatre (held, incredibly on my birthday) last April:

I have a thousand things to say about Summer Lindsay Serafin. A thousand thousand. I’ll be saying them and thinking them and writing them down every day for the rest of my life no matter how brief or prolonged that may be. But today...Just for today...
She liked to sleep. That’s not what I wanna talk about but it has to be said. She loved sleeping. I’m listening to one her voicemails of late and she says she is so excited by the prospect of sleep. That “it is like (her) mouth is watering for sleep”. She says that. It’s good. I sometimes sleep now and just want to stay. I hope I might find her there.
It’s impossible, really. Impossible that I met her. That she “found me” she liked to say. I’m not from around here. It’s impossible that she lived in a place called “The Inner Sunset”. Impossible that she lit me up, this shining person, and held me, safely, in her orbit. Impossible. All of it. And today. Just impossible.
She was a terrible driver. Even Mike said so. I loved her battle-scared Blue Prius. The passenger side mirror in a kaleidoscope thousand pieces, dangling by a cable. A taillight busted. The bumper sagging. No, no she fixed that. The back seat full of boots and sunhats and coconut water. And tissues. She left a trail of tissues everywhere. Like Hansel & Gretel. You could follow it to its source and eventually find her.
She was – words, not for the first time, fail – an unearthly beauty. An ethereal beauty. And shockingly, entirely earthbound. Preternaturally present. She ate up life. With both tiny perfect fists. Ate it up. Actually, she ate quite beautifully. Do you remember that? Cutting and balancing petite bites, transferring them knife to fork with quiet elegance. Even bananas she ate like that. Seriously, I have a picture. I got her to try dark chocolate. She wasn’t a fan at first. She broke little bits off into tiny pieces. I looked over and she was sprinkling Equal onto them one at a time.
She was the dearest dearest girl. Nothing phony about her. If you got to know her at all, your heart just broke in two the moment you realized, the moment you saw her, really saw her and then surged with love. For her. This amazing girl.
She didn’t do anything to make it difficult, but I can understand how someone could think she was hard to get to know. She was friendly but never facile. She wasn’t frivolous. She was serious. She was fun, god, was she fun. She loved people – and this is what I wanna get it, at long last – she loved people and she took them seriously. Not everybody’s up for that. More fool they.
I’m circling the runway here, I know, but there’s one more thing I gotta say before I bring it in – she was a breathtakingly gifted actor. I met her doing Edna O’Brien’s Tir na nOg, Chris Smith’s last play at The Magic. She played the central role, a country girl in the west of Ireland who grows to young adulthood and further adventures in Dublin. And she burned that stage to cinders every goddamn night. With three broken toes. If you live here and you go to the theatre and you did not see her in that, I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t. A year later, right after she was in Rock n Roll at ACT, she went down to Carmel to do David Hare’s The Blue Room directed by Ken Kelleher. I sat there between Linda and Coy and I
just thought “god, what am I doing?” I have a perfectly healthy ego. I’m from New York. But I have never seen acting like that. She is like the supermoon. Once in a generation.
She loved her work. And she was good at it. But she had a higher calling. To love. And, yes, that is what I want to talk about. Because she told me. She told me she knew why she was here and that was to love. She was filled with love. So much love. And she wanted more than anything to share her love with others. She told me that. And there is absolutely no doubting it because you could not have a better piece of luck in this world than to have been blessed enough to have been loved by her. She was like that device they use in open heart surgery that cracks your chest open and holds it gaping, wide, so you can be healed. That fragile little muscle, scarred and scared and on the verge of shutting down, giving out, giving up, held now tenderly in her expert hands, beneath her loving, healing gaze.
Her love was tenacious, vigilant. Unflinching. I met her three years ago and she quickly became the center of my life. She didn’t drop people. If you were in, she was in. Even if you faltered because nobody had ever shown up for you before like this, she was on you. Checking in. Reminding. Different this time. Not goin’ anywhere. She hated talking on the phone but we talked every day, often for hours. For three. She knew everything about me. Things I never tell became hers.
And she made sure I knew her as well. Her gratitude, her pride in a happy childhood. Loving, devoted, would-take-a-bolt-of-lightning-for parents. Her epic struggle from the age of 5 to live. Ryan’s gifting her a kidney and the double organ transplant that saved and changed her life. The unfathomable loss of Jesse. She carried every piece of her past with pride and love and honesty into every room, knowing exactly who she was, like no one I have ever known. Or ever will.
God, how I loved her! She’s right. She did find me. I clung to her. “Like a liferaft” I told her she was, “to a drowning man.” She smiled and said, “you’re not drowning anymore.”
When my mom died last year, I was in London. I got the news in the middle of the night. I was alone. I called Summer, eight hours behind, here. When I told her, she burst into tears. And then told me to get on Skype. “I want to see you drink an entire glass of water”, she said. “And lie down. And try to sleep. I’ll be right here at my computer watching you. I will watch you while you sleep.” She watched over me like an angel, a cyber angel, and when I woke she was there with Linda getting me on a plane to New York and then on to Michigan. Then Summer flew herself to Detroit and waited in the airport all night to meet my plane. And was at my side every day for a week while I buried my mother. Who does that? Serafin love. Irrepressible, irreplaceable girl.
“When I met you”, she said “you were so wounded, so hurting, so sad – I just wanted to love you, to heal. But I never dreamed”, she added, “I would ever get so much love in return.” Who does that?
I need her. I am broken. That is as it should be. It’s supposed to be hard. She cracked my chest open. It’ll have to stay that way. Because who would go back? But it’s hard.
Summer, incredibly, had an answer for that, I think. All this is preface. She’d want to have the last word. So, I’d like to share that. It’s her Christmas card from a couple of years ago. She was in Boston doing Rock n Roll at The Huntington. It closed just before the holidays and she came to New York to exchange gifts with me. She made me promise to wait until December 25th to open it. So, I took it on the plane with me, waited til Christmas morning and opened it at my Mom’s. The gift was a beautiful blue and grey scarf she knitted. There was also a card. It’s to me but in a way it’s to us all. Everyone of us who she loved. Everyone of us who love her. And feel so lost. Because life is so lonely, the world so empty and wrong without her.
My Dearest Michael,
I’ve been working on this in the green room and backstage since we came to Boston. I’d drape it around my neck to keep warm while knitting in the dark of the freezing wings. The cast is decisively in favor of the striped color combination.
It’s Christmas day, and I’m wearing my pajamas. I’m in my P.J.’s even if you’re reading this when the sun has set. Ryan is making another bourbon and coke even if you’re reading this as the sun rises. My Dad is reading aloud shocking statistics about religion or politics, my Mom is spraying perfume on the dog, and me...? I am missing you. Maybe one day we’ll spend Christmas together.
Coy says “You are where you’re meant to be”, and while I like that idea, I know, far too well, what it feels like to be in a world where everything feels wrong – where everything is wrong. You have also been to that place. And as the world spins on its own axis, people are lost in their own needs and trials. We falter blindly, and strive endlessly. But no matter where you are, whether you should be there or not, and no matter who is present... know that you are a treasure in your own right. If the chest is buried, the key is lost, or the map stolen, it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t change the fact that it’s inside you. I just see what’s there. You carry it with you. What’s hidden can always be found.
I love you. Your Gingersnap, Summer I love you, too. Love you forever. Goodnight, little sweetheart.

For a start...

Summer- the love of my life, my reason, my soulmate, my partner, my bandmate, my co-writer, my One True Love, my pretty little girl, my Gingersnap - tragically died on March 18, 2011 of injuries following an accidental fall. I will write and post things about her here upon occasion. What a beautiful life we had! Those 3 years we had were the best of my life. I'll try to express some of it - the love, the longing, the loss - here. xo-michael