It is the longest day of the year. This day has always demanded something from me. It rips me out of sleep, early, too early. Just as the first light is breaking through the sky. Wake up, it shouts at me. There is something to see here, it yells. I’m sluggish, sticky. The hair on the back of my neck rubs against me, bothers me. I drink water, then coffee. I sit in the silence of morning, before the birds have begun their songs, before the cars have started their travel. It is still outside, too still. The bunny I spy is frozen, his nose not even twitching. The hum of the air conditioner becomes too loud, a vibration inside me, annoying me. My eyes feel heavy, but I can’t close them. Keep your eyes open, the day is screaming at me. Open, damn it. The longest day of the year has always passed in this way. Suffocating, hasty, dreadful. It threatens me, with its unending sunlight, the notion that it will not end, that it knows more than I do. It splatters my dreams out in front of it and says, see, you can do it all, you have the time. It mocks me, calls me lazy, but then sweetly kisses me and sends me into the day. A proud day, it is. Years ago, when I loved a boy named John, after I had loved my son’s father, this day stretched before us. I was hungry, and rowdy, and I wanted to dance in the moonlight, and jump into the water naked. I wanted to read every book I owned, and write all the words I’d ever had inside of me. John had laughed his laugh, a loud, demanding thing, and I hadn’t known if it was the day or the man that was pulling things out of me, casting them into the sea, freeing me. He let me stay up until the last moment, on his roof, when sunlight turned to darkness, and then the stars, slowly appearing, a relief, a reward. Here we are, the stars gleamed, smiling, brilliant, as they danced overhead. “You are something else,” John had told me, and the stars approved, shooting rapidly above us, performing, the way they only would on the longest day. We’re meant to be alive. We’re meant to be living. Doing. Seeing. Breathing. We’re meant to be outstretched before the days, pouring out, filling up. We’re meant to touch the stars, to become the colors of the sunset. It’s the longest day of the year, and we’re meant to be awake for it. Wake up, it screams. Open your eyes. I am itchy this morning. Uneasy. Expectant. Maybe this is the first day of the year. Maybe this is how we’re supposed to move forward. In anticipation. With expectation. The stripping of the old to let in the new. The longing is on the tip of my tongue, the yearning is in the blink of my eyes. I am here, I say. I am here.