but thy eternal summer shall not fade

With the windows rolled down and the summer pop-punk music blasting, the two friends cruised the Garden State Parkway at 75 miles per hour, heading south onto the Jersey Cape as the sun disappeared to the west, its streaks reflecting off aviators while a salty scent of ocean air swept through the vintage 80’s K-car.  Their conversation hadn’t stopped in over an hour…

“… It would be simple and affordable.  And cute of course.  I’d bring her a flower, but just one.  Unless it’s a special occasion because I wouldn’t want to overdo it or freak her out.  It wouldn’t be a rose either.  They’re nice but for a simple date, I’d prefer something, I don’t know, more playful I guess.. like a white carnation.”

“Definitely!  And I would leave something on her doorstep because its all about the surprises and what could be better than waking up to something like that?”

“See boss, we’re thinking on those courtly love levels again, and lets be honest with ourselves, that’s just not at all what they really want, even though they’ll say all day that it is.”

The song faded as the car slowed to a stop at the traffic light on Stone Harbor Boulevard, a place that was a heart ache for the driver.  Don’t call me peanut by Bayside was next on the ipod shuffle.

Irony.

“All I would want is to take a girl on a nice date, a real date..”

“Samez dude, and I don’t mean just to Rita’s water ice for gelatis either.  Although fun and simple, I’m talking an actual date.”

“Exactly!  Do you mind if I switch the song?”

“Go right ahead.”

“Sweet.”

“This one’s better anyway…”

I look back to the one and only summertime.. and my girl was the envy of every friend of mine…

For a moment they sang simultaneously and then continued their noble discussion.

“It’s just sad that we’ve been single for most of our lives because we respect women.”

“It definitely seems that way sometimes boss.”

“Let’s remember, we’re generally speaking.  There are the exceptions, they do exist… I think.  They’re just all so… scattered.  And it’s up to fate to find each other, but when we do it’s remarkable… matchless, unmistakable..”

“Profound and epic!”

“Yes.”

“Def.”

“But really, what would your perfect date be like?  Like the first one I guess.”

“Hmm.. I’d say coffee and a nice stroll depending on the season and weather.  Like now, summertime, would be exceptionally perfect, I can think of a million excellent places.”

“Agreed.”

“Old city is nice, especially for dinner.  You don’t have to be too expensive, but then again, after you’ve been dating I think you should only advance and step it up.  Which is kind of the opposite of how our world looks at it.  It’s like once you’re dating, then it’s okay to slack off, when really, to me at least, once you’re dating that’s your time to shine.”

“I like that!  And you could dress up too, and walk the cobblestone streets together, not holding hands though but with arms linked.”

“Yes!  And then you could walk over to Independence Hall’s park or down Walnut to the river and sit by the docks after dinner.”

“See, this is ideal.  The lights from the Ben, a river breeze, formal clothes after a classy dinner..”

“Alright, alright, so here’s my sequence of events.  If I actually had a girlfriend these are the kind of dates we would go on for fun.  The dinner in Philly is forsurely.  Then I’d mix it up, maybe a late lunch or early dinner again but this time at Baltimore’s inner harbor.  It’s such a sweet place at night.  Or maybe Chesapeake City, have you ever been there?”

“You could walk the docks there, and it’s not like it’s even that far.  It’s a cool city that’s right in our backyard yanno?!  No, I haven’t been there but I hear it’s cool and quaint, right on the bay.”

“Pretty much.  But a really cool epic date would be to plan out a late afternoon start and have her get ready but not tell her where you were going.  I would drive to like Greenbelt, Maryland, get on the Metro and take it right to Foggy Bottom Station in Georgetown, eat somewhere cool, like one of those side street cafes and then take her for a walk down the National Mall at night, hand in hand from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building.”

“Damn, now there’s an idea.  Night time walking on the edge of the reflecting pool with all those lit up monuments, good thinking Lincoln!  Now that’s boss!”

“I don’t know why people make it into a big deal.  We have these places at our convenience because of where we happen to live.  None of them are far, and all are easy to get to.  Yet still, girls will go for these dudes that all they’ll do is sit in a basement or go to Applebees in Ridley, or maybe, just maybe a trip to Philly.”

“Seriously.  And let’s not forget Atlantic City and all our beach points.  Think of the endless possibilities if we only had someone who would actually be willing to date us.”

“So many great ideas, but it seems like we’ll never get that chance.  We’ll just live them out in our minds and go to bed at the end of the day.  By ourselves.”

“I don’t get why someone would rather sit in a house with a guy who literally will do anything for sex.”

“We’ve already had this conversation a million times:  in the movies it’s the good guy who gets the girls, but in reality it’s always the douchebags..”

“I just want to know why they settle for guys who don’t do anything creative or fun or spontaneous.  They miss out on the way it’s supposed to be…”

“Guys do the same thing too I guess.”

“Shallowness.. on both accounts.”

“Absosmurfly.”

The headlights splashed against the green sign for Exit 6, North Wildwood.  It was the home stretch until they made their way onto the island, a remnant of traditional Doo-Wop days that the two friends had only heard about from their grandparents.  An era that they had wished was theirs.  The weekend was promising, the weather was perfect, and tomorrow’s beach day would be ideal… but not quite.

“It would be nice if we had girls joining us this weekend.”

“Wouldn’t it be…”

“Someone to snuggle up to at night after the beach, have a drink and watch a movie..”

“Don’t ask the impossible.”

“See boss, what girls don’t understand is that a guy will lie to them for months to get some kind of sexy sexy time.  And they’ll eat it up and believe every word of it.  Look around, relationships last a few months max anymore..”

“It’s as if no one wants a real relationship any more.”

“And it’s not like it has to start off that way, just take it easy, have fun, go on dates..”

“Why cant it work like that?”

“I don’t know, it just doesn’t.  Did at one point when our parents and grandparents were our age but today it just…doesn’t.”

“Well you know there are countless girls out there that will tell you all they’ve ever wanted was a genuine relationship but at the same time they will say that there are no good guys out there all the while they’ve passed by a bunch of them in their reckless pursuit of douches.”

“And they never recognize them as douches either, it’s like their blind to it, yet it’s so easy to spot them.”

“Stanley Hammer’s dude.”

“hm?”

Tools.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Sometimes guys do the same thing though, walking past a lot of great genuine girls in pursuit of slutty chicks that screw them over in the end.  No pun intended.”

“Valid as well.”

“But yeah, they want prince charming to come and rescue them, make them feel loved, be with them forever and then when he does come, they either don’t recognize it at all or shoot him right down and run away as fast as they can saying, ‘Oh, let’s just be friends’ and make up some lame excuse as to why it couldn’t work, and then a week later their fucking some random tough macho mother fucker who just wanted some pussy.”

“Yep.”

“Just by being a nice guy we collectively put ourselves at a disadvantage.  Nice guys care about a girl.  We want to do the right thing, and there’s the problem..  We hesitate to approach girls in a public place to avoid coming off as creepy or being a nuisance.   When a girl denies us we never put up a fight and just accept it and move on out of respect for her.  We are the guys that value our friendship with a girl to the point where we don’t want to ruin it by asking them out.”

“On the contrary, a lot of jerk guys out there could care less about a girl and what she thinks.  They just care about themselves and the advancement of themselves.  They don’t care if they’re bugging a girl or if they’re gonna come off as too persistent.  They just go for it.  They don’t consider whether hitting on a girl is going to ruin their freindship with them.”

“It’s like an impulsive animalistic pursuit that inevitably puts them at an advantage because the probability the more times you try the higher chance that you will have for it to eventually work out.”

“Should it really be that hard for us?  We are the guys who think that it’s better to treat a girl like she’s special rather then trying to get her to drop her pants.  We go completely out of our way for them.  Respect their body, care about what defines them on the inside.  Just want to experience true genuine love.”

“Yet every attractive seemingly good girl is so disinterested in us.  Why has the system come to this?  Why have our lives gone this way?  Is this the good guy’s fault?  Do we collective “nice guys” emit something that ultimately turns girls off to us and drives them into the arms of selfish manipulative jerks?  Are we to blame?  Or is there something about the collective female perception and thinking that is completely upside down.”

“I don’t know.  Do girls really want a good guy or do they enjoy the drama and abuse of dating assholes?  Do they bring this ultimate hurting and irresponsible destruction upon themselves?”

“You can take a girl on a fun genuine date but they’re uninterested in more dates like that even though they had ‘an amazing time.’ Why we go so far for a girl that’s more interested in a guy who will treat her like shit?  Why are we always great friends but could never ever be lovers?”

“I have no clue.  But I know that girls will go for, heck, even marry guys who aren’t at all willing to give up their life of going out and partying in order to be loving responsible husbands and fathers.”

“Yet, there are so many guys that would just kill to be loving responsible husbands and dads, yet it’s as if those guys will just die alone.”

“See boss, these are the collective thoughts on why nice guys seem to finish last, or not at all, and get completely trampled over and go through so much frustration and abuse from the one thing they most desire.. just a nice genuine girl who will see them as they see her.”

“And guys you know, they will go for girls who’ll give them immediate satisfaction, missing out on all the other girl could’ve been like that T-Swift song..”

You belong with me,” they said simultaneously.

“Put it on.”

“I’ll find it on the ipod.”

The ocean fragrance grew stronger, only a few minutes remained on their rather speedy journey to the coast.

“Guys will tell girls how pretty they are, how much they love them blah blah blah lies lies lies.  Then when they get tired of that girl, they get a new one and their old girlfriend cries for days thinking he loved her when in all reality he wanted one thing.”

“So easy to spot them.  Can’t mistake ‘em, yet they never know until it’s too late.  Every time.  Guaranteed.”

“But anyways, wouldn’t it be nice to take her on beach trips!”

“And always keep a blanket and spare sweatshirts in the trunk for a beach date at night.  It could get chilly and you want to end up lying on the sand and looking at the stars before the nights over.”

“And listening to the waves, and walking the coastline.”

“Sounds cliché, but its perfect.  And we can sit and talk about it all day cause it aint gonna happen.”

“True love must be wholly voluntary on both accounts, and that’s the real challenge.”

“Why someone wouldn’t want to be treated beautiful, special, incredible and loved is beyond me.  It’s as if people would rather be treated like shit, stomped on, hit, cursed at, yelled at, cheated on and whatever else scumbags do.”

“Sometimes I feel like 90% of guys just use girls for sex and nothing more.  That 10% will always be left out.”

“But don’t you feel honored to be in that 10%?”

“Of course.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Never stoop down to the level of scumbags.  Even if they do always get all the girls.”

They pounded fists and made the curvy turn onto Exit 4B, passing the bright neon Off-Shore Motel on Delsea Drive.

“Why is it that our generation needs to be reminded that a relationship is not just to claim someone to screw.”

“50% of marriages end in divorce..”

“Just look at all the people on Maury and Jerry, who the hell wants to end up there?  Having 3 kids and no one claiming to be the dad?  C’mon sister!”

“Chivalry isnt dead yet though?”

“You don’t say?”

“No, no, it’s there… it’s just awfully scattered.”

“If it were up to me, I would be in the renaissance time.  I would then have to court my lady, and ask her father for permission to take her out.  That’s when men were true gentlemen.”

“So it seems.”

“For instance… perhaps I met a girl, and we went out on a date.  Only she didn’t know it was a date of course..”

“Isn’t that always the case.”

“She says, I would just like to let you know you’re an amazing person.  I had such a great time with you, thank you so much.  I’ve never met someone like you, you’re the sweetest person I know.  You would think to yourlself, wow, this is awesome.  And then literally hours later, she has a boyfriend, and it’s not you.”

“Why would you say that to someone then?”

“I don’t know, Prince douchebag mustve really swept her off her feet.”

“Did you meet someone?”

“haha, yeah.  And she’s “in love” with this guy.  He’s apparently a drug dealer, oh no wait, excuse me, a ‘middle man.’  He got her pregnant.  And now they’re not together.”

“Shit..”

“This was a long time ago though.  I just like to use the example.  I’ve written enough about the brutal loss of childlike enchantment, it seems as if I’ll always have new material..”

“But then again, girls seem “all that”  because we don’t know them.  It’s all about you in that moment because no one can live up to the expectation you’ve invented in your head.  So you cant expect a girl to be someone she isnt just because she’s new and fascinating and exciting.”

“you’re very right about that.  And if anyone’s fallen in love with ideas over people, it’s me.”

For a few seconds there was silence as they sped by a few slow cars in the right lane and watched as the green glow of the Ferris Wheel rose up on the horizon.  The drive was the perfect summer’s night, an escape from the week and the city and the land… to the sea.

“I just wish I could find someone who would want to spend all day with me.  Go out to dinner, go for walks, drive-in movies in Vineland, the art museum, boat house row, sit on the hood of our cars at night and watch the planes land at Philly international from Fort Mifflin, read poetry, movies and cuddling, long drives with the only intent and purpose being to be with one another.  I wish I could have that best friend.”

“Well, I do all those things with you,” they both laughed.

“I know what you mean.  I wish I could have that too.  Spending days at the beach together and nights on boardwalk ridesCold winter days in Manhattan and strolling through Central Park with coffee, watching Christmas lights, snuggling under that big ass tree at Rockefeller Center, ice skating..

“What about Sunset Beach in Cape May, in like October!?”

“Ooh, yes.”

“Wouldn’t it be perfect?  Someone I could wake up to every morning, make breakfast for, bring lunch to at work, she’d be..”

“..Someone to love.”

“Yes.”

“And to know that that person actually loves you back and isnt looking over your shoulder as they dance with you.”

“Yes.”

“Boss, I don’t ask for much from this life.  Just a babe and my music and I’d be just fine.”

“I hear ya, sounds like real riches to me.”

The car’s tires rolled over the metal grate from the Rio Grande Bridge.  The drive was over, they had arrived on the island.

“The imagination is like a muscle.  The more you exercise it the stronger it becomes…”

“So.. stop imagining because we’ll only be let down?”

“..Nah, never.  What we imagine is better than what we got here anyway.”

“Word.”

“As long as we still believe and think this way, our eternal summer will live on forever.  What the artist has created cannot be diminished.”

“You’re right my friend.”

“I know.  And so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

2 thoughts on “but thy eternal summer shall not fade”

  1. Shew! This is a novel. I don’t even have enough time in the day to read all of this. I wish you had bookmarks. The first half is good! Spot on with my life. But I ended up finding the One, and she’s perfect.. HAHA! I WIN!

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