A Long, Hot Summer
Most years I complain about summer being too short. Not this year. Instead of June 21, my summer started when classes ended in early May. Though only psychological — I didn’t take off any more than usual — the difference was very much appreciated.
Long, hot summers are the norm in Athens. Highs have bee mostly in the 90s. Fortunately, we avoided triple digits this year — so far. Record-breaking highs in the past week have come close.
Rain has been in short supply too. I quit watering months ago. Survivors include zinnias, Gerber daisies and an astounding variety of weeds. Now is the time to start planting my winter garden, but first it needs to cool down quite a lot.
My writing career is on hold. To be honest, I enjoy writing a lot more than I enjoy being an author. The latter requires far more time and effort than I’m willing or able to commit. If I never write another, five novels is still a huge and unexpected accomplishment.
Dating hasn’t been a priority. Frankly, another long-term relationship holds no appeal. I’m too set in my ways. Never say never, but he’d really have to be something special. My house is perfect for one, but too small for two, and I ain’t moving again. Ever.
As predicted, I’ve pretty much become a hermit since Andy passed away. He’s never far from my thoughts, but missing him doesn’t hurt so much anymore. Vision issues limit my options for a social life, but I’m not sure more options would make any difference. Staying home agrees with me.
I do browse gay dating apps now and then, but rarely initiate chats with anyone I don’t know. Most who hit on me think I’m desperate, generous, or both. I chat with a number of mostly local guys and, after weeks and even months of conversation, have met a few I count among my friends.
A much younger guy (over 21 and not a student) started chatting with me in February. We flirted some, but mostly talking about work, leisure activities, and past experiences. I welcomed the distraction. Chatting with him gave me something to do besides miss Andy.
In mid-July, he came over to hang out for the first time. I figured we’d maybe cuddle and watch something on Netflix. He clearly had other ideas. I have many strengths, but resisting the determined advances of a gorgeous 20-something isn’t one of them.
We really hit it off, but the age difference keeps things real. We will never be a couple. Yeah, I told Andy the same thing 18 years ago — and he was only half my age. Wearing me down took Andy a couple of years. This guy leaves town in a few months.
My only rule (which he has no problem following) is that his friends ALWAYS come first. Consequently, I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like. He’s busy working and doing things guys his age do–video games, dungeons & dragons, trivia night, wall-climbing, kayaking and other stuff.
Some will think I’m a dirty old man. Others will say I’m a cougar. I’ve reached the point in my life when I no longer care what other people think. He makes me smile, puts a spring in my step, and gives me something to look forward to. And for that, I am extremely grateful.