A year ago, my dermatologist told me that if I wasn’t more careful in the sun it could kill me. After spending a lifetime barefooted and sun-kissed on the champagne shores of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, this was devastating news. However, when my doctor showed me the pathology report of four pre-malignant biopsies, I was ready to move to the Alaskan tundra. Instead, I bought a hat, an umbrella and a case of zinc.

But one week this summer while visiting my sister on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, the siren call of the sun wooed me to its wiles. The heat on my skin felt like a scandal. Day after day was spent on the beautiful waters of mountain lakes. I knew I shouldn’t have been in the sun but I couldn’t tear myself away. “Just a little longer,” I would tell myself but then ten minutes turned into twenty, thirty and so on. Even though I could hear Dr. Martin’s voice in my head over the roar of an Evinrude 80, I threw caution and my spf 90 to the wind. At the end of the week, I was full of regret. My body was burned and my conscious seared. So, in a moment of reason and resolve, I penned the following:

A “Dear John” Letter To The Sun:

This letter is difficult to write because it’s hard to know what to say. Though I’ve pretended this day would never come, somehow, I knew it was inevitable.

Let me begin by saying that I love you. I have loved you from the start. Nothing makes me feel like I do when I’m with you. And it’s not only the way you make me feel but it’s also how I feel about myself when we’re together. I am younger, more vibrant.

You shine; I glow.

I want to believe that our affair is different from that of others, that somehow I won’t fall victim to the consequences but the truth is, it isn’t and I will. Your power over me is intoxicating. When we’re together, I’m lost in the haze of your heat. My body melts for you; it swells from your touch.

I thought if I indulged, then I’d be satisfied but I discovered that the more I’m with you, the more I want you.

Yes, I know I’ve said this all before but this time…well, this time something has changed. I have changed. You’re no longer good for me and in spite of how wonderful you make me feel, the truth is that you can be oppressive and unbearable. Your effect on me is devastating.

Although, the past few days together were wonderful, I will suffer from the consequences of those indulgent moments for years to come. Yes, I admit that with you everything seems better. I am still tantalized by your touch and truly, nothing compares to the way you make me feel. But that, in part, is why our summer romance must end.  It was wrong of me to give myself to you like I did. Your kisses are stamped on my body like a tattoo, permanent reminders of a reckless folly. I’m to blame. I forget that along with pleasure often comes pain.

For this reason, I cannot be with you like this anymore. I’ve been exposed and with knowing comes regret. The risk now outweighs the thrill.

This isn’t easy. You’ve been a part of me for so long that I can hardly imagine my life without you. Tomorrow things will be different. I won’t give myself to you nor will I allow you to give yourself to me. I will resist your charms. My want will stay in the shadows, burning for you.

I am sorry it has to be this way.


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