I have always been one to lay in the sun. There’s something about the heat on your face, the way it warms your whole body, makes you sweat, makes you lazy. It’s relaxing to me. I feel hot. I’m releasing all my tension. But there’s something to be said about the shade. Today, I’m sitting in the shade. A bright green tree lends a branch to cover the cement pillar where I sit. There are steps leading down to a grassy area where a couple lays side by side, reading books. It is beautiful how they rest there, together, but alone. I like that idea. I like that you can be with someone, but still be yourself. Just like I am finding I appreciate the sun, while half-hidden from its rays. Today is beautiful. The breeze is just light enough to make you yearn for it; the sun too hot to be outside without it. Every tree is full, leaves rich and bright, almost leaning towards the sky, hoping for more light, more energy, more love. There are cars here, cars everywhere. I don’t think they intrude. They are a distant sound. The humming of their engines is a background lull, covered by the call of a male cardinal to my right and chirping sparrows to my left. The sky is not cloudless, but I don’t think a sky has to be cloudless to be beautiful. There are white puffy shapes like overgrown marshmallows, like stretched cotton balls I use to dab my painted nails. But my nails are not painted today, only my toes. I don’t like when they match, I feel too orderly, too perfect. My nails are unpainted today, the white half-moons of their edges look almost as if I intended them to be that way. My toes, a bright pink to embody this flashy summer. I like feet. Most people don’t, which I still can’t understand. There’s something strangely intimate about brushing your toes against the top of another’s feet. I like to do that in bed sometimes, when I’m cuddling and half-asleep. It makes it all real, that someone’s really there. Someone that loves each part of you: half-dimple in your left cheek, birthmark on your upper thigh, chicken pox scar on your stomach. Even if they’re asleep in that moment, and they don’t intertwine their feet with yours, don’t pull you closer, you still know they’re there. Together, but alone. Loving someone while still be yourself. Like feeling the sun, though somewhat hidden in the shade. Our lives are full of these pulls. Streetcars and silence. Light and darkness. Connection and solitude. The beauty is the balance. Trees that give shade but reach for light. Toes that caress sleeping toes, just to feel solid skin.