“8 kisses?” In the sweetest little-girl voice I’ve ever heard. I don’t know how it morphed from 1, to 4, to 8 goodbye kisses each time I dropped her off at her mom and stepdad’s, but those are her rules. Everything is her rules. I suppose it was one of the 8 kisses, or maybe the shared water bottle, that passed this damn summer cold to me, the same summer cold that had ruined her camping trip with her other family the week before. After all, what are kids? Giggles, sweetness, love, and raw neediness, yes, of course, but also squealing little bundles of germs, ready to pass to Daddy a winter affliction, a nasty head cold, in the middle of the biggest heat wave in years. A heat wave that had long since overstayed its welcome. A summer cold that had overstayed its welcome with the very first sneeze, that stank of sinus infection after 3 days.
Colds belong to winter, when everyone is cooped up inside, touching the same doorknobs and coffee machines with their snotty little fingers, not to the season of dry grass and scalding sand and green lake water. The phenomenal, orgasmic release of energy of what seems like ten thousand sneezes belongs to the same crappy season that freezes the back of your neck with snow and turns roads into skating rinks with sleet, not to the season of falling asleep in a backyard hammock, drool running out the side of your mouth, beer running out of the can that fell out of your hand when the latest bestseller turned out to be as boring as the annotated works of that hack Shakespeare. Colds belong to the season of winter carnivals, not to the season of arts fairs full of overpriced paintings of sheep, with corn-fed Iowa girls displaying tattooed, jiggling flesh bursting out of clothes 2 sizes too small for them, and 3-dollar bottles of water.
Go away, summer cold, go away.