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