All I can say is, WOW. Going through all of these entries was definitely an experience. I feel like I got to know each one of you on a whole new level, like I was the priest on the other side of the confessional getting to hear all your secrets, and it brought back flooding memories of my own summer loves. Moments I had forgotten and feelings I thought were gone, but clearly not. Thank you to each and every person who sent in their story to us, knowing some stranger behind a computer would be reading it, and that stranger was me.

It was extremely hard to narrow this down to three people (I flagged about 50 that, after I read, exclaimed “this one, oh man, definitely this one!”), but without further adieu, here are the winners of our SUMMERLOVE contest, inspired by Frank Ocean:

“It was the long drive in the Volkswagen Type 2 that brought us together. Before that we were just things to each other, extra space. We were riding in that van for 3 weeks. All we had to live off of was each other, small amounts of cash, and dope. I don’t know what happened, or how it happened. We stopped in a campsite just to stay for a few nights, and during those days we realized each other’s existence. I was no perfect girl, with no perfect body or personality, but he made me one. He brought out the sunlight in me. We melted together. We not only loved one another, but we understood each other. Those 3 weeks were the best of my life, getting high, making love, and finding each other. His eyes were galaxies of light that pulled me in, and made me dizzy. When he held me I couldn’t breath, I felt my heart pump faster and he would pull me closer and whisper reassuring words into my ear. His hair was a long braid; it was like the finest threads were spun together. He was perfect. I loved the crookedness of his nose, the deep bone structure of his face. Loved. He taught me the meaning of life, and I owe him that much. That was the most beautiful summer love.”

“I remember that summer’s night like an airy daydream. It had ended in the early hours in the morning with his hand in mine, and we were laughing and laying in the grass, freshly misted with dew. It was the first time I had stayed up and watched the sunset; I’d never been one for sentiment, but with him I was a changed woman.

The night began as any other night out does: bad behaved girls in denim cutoffs pouring tequila like water, and a noise complaint—our cue to fall into a cab and escape into the night.

The second I saw him I felt my heart slump into my stomach. He looked exactly how a Jack Kerouac novel feels. There was something eloquent in the way he put that cigarette to his lips and drew out a long cloud of smoke. We met eyes from across the room and I felt myself drawn to him, beginning to float my way through the crowd as if I were wading through water to get to him, every so often getting jostled by an elbow of a dancing stranger like a wave crashing into me. I had never been so fearless in such an unfamiliar situation. As I approached him and he gave me a smile and pulled me closer. It took mere moments before we were kissing. He had me in his mystifying grasp, and the summer evening made the room as steamy as his gaze.

We spent the night dancing to The Rolling Stones and The Temptations, never once leaving each other’s side. When we parted ways after dawn, he kissed my forehead and said, “you’re my summer girl.””

“He was in the band I had been listening to since I was 18. Three years later, I stood there, accidently forced into his company by questions of a stranger. I nervously said hello, and carried on. After he played, he went to find me again. Later he told me that he had been intrigued by my silence. We spent the night talking about love, the world and the possibilities of chance; both forgetting and constantly remembering that this was our only few hours together. Tomorrow he would travel to Melbourne and then begin his journey home to Europe.

We began to travel with the band inner West. In the tour bus, he asked me if we could go anywhere. I told him about a night I wanted to watch sunrise at the harbour (the night my ex boyfriend had kissed my best friend) – a day that ended being one of the darkest on record. He smiled, “let’s do that”. But we were going the wrong way.

We spent our final hours together enthralled in each other’s company, the slight touch of a limb, and an endless gaze. It came time for me to leave. With hesitation, he asked me to stay. I had reservations because of his profession, so I left.

We spoke for 7 months every night online after that. He lives on the other side of the world but over Christmas I visited him. My final destination was Paris, he surprised me there and asked me to be his girlfriend.

We are together now, and I am moving to Europe to be with him next year.

True connections do exist.
Sometimes you just have to
let yourself fall.

…and I’d rather be in his arms every 6 months than spend nights with the wrong person.”

Congratulations to our 3 winners, you will be receiving an email tomorrow morning about your prizes!

Since this contest was so hard for us to judge, here are some that also gave us butterflies:

Christina Kim
“She is just like the summer sun.

A year from August 27 will celebrate the time she entered my life. Color saturated
my world and time rolled forward for me once again. I could wake up in the
morning without crying anymore. She pulled me through time, day by day.

Despite the ocean between us, we fell in love, and I succumbed. I felt truly loved
for the first time.

Summer of 2012; I take big steps forward and study abroad in Prague. She came
to see me on June 16. Panic hits me like a train. I see her and do a double take;
she is much lovelier in person.

The next five days & four nights are filled with as much love we could exchange
in such a rushed time.
I caress her skin, kiss the stars on her neck; skipped class to roll around in bed
for hours, adoring each other’s presence entwined with each other. We were
drenched in the summer’s heat and our private bliss.

When I realized her hand wasn’t there to reach for, I lost it. The floor fell from
beneath me. I cried in the airport, on the bus, the metro, and broke into heaving
sobs in my room. The depth of my emotions surprised myself. I sobbed the whole
night. Neither of us could stop. We wept for love, time, distance, buried emotions,
frustration, cursing fate, and so many things in-between.

I crave her breath, her kisses, her sounds, her amber eyes, her fluttering
eyelashes, her crooked smile, her radiating warmth, her and all the love she
poured onto me.

The longing is worth each second spent with you.

I miss you, I love you, I thank you
Your existence is greater than the sun to me.”

Elizabeth Lee
“People do stupid things in foreign countries. They eat unsanitary animal parts for experience and buy expensive leather jackets. I, for one, spent a sleepless night dedicated to summer romance with a boy I knew I wouldn’t be able to see again.

A believer of serious relationships, I would have never thought to do something as obtuse as stay up all night talking to a stranger about everything except what would happen once the sun rose and the warm summer night was over. But he was charming and well-spoken; his eyes would transform into crescents when he smiled. And I was in a foreign country, legitimizing my stupidity.

I spent my last afternoon in Berlin writing journal entries next to a wall of paintings hanging weakly in a local café. My table has uneven legs, rocking every time I push my pen against my notebook. I blush with embarrassment as I create an unnecessary scene. He inches closer, pretending to admire the artwork, but his curiosity is almost palpable. He grabs a newspaper sitting on the nearest table and folds it in quarters. Sliding it under one of my table legs, he smiles and sits at the table across from me. A strangely suave German. Soon, we are sitting at the same table, discussing anything and everything, as if we had just picked up where we left off, even though there was nothing to pick up and nowhere to have left off.

We left the café and perused the neighborhood. And then I left him, standing alone in the empty midnight streets of Berlin.

Walking back to my hostel, I make a toast. “To us!” I shout to him in my best German.”

Natalie Raymond
in the beginning of summer 2009 I was doodling in required undergraduate courses.
my teacher was cute & that made me think ancient greek was ornate & worth it.
I was emboldened by brooklyn-sun-concrete,
& left him a note on the final exam; a crisp pastel green post-it.
love story

we meet & it rains & the park is green
a sponge that takes time
to soak

I don’t mind that you pay for tea & keep an articulate distance.
I like your face but not your height, so
I’ll wear flats to dinner.

A Time–

we stayed the night in a cave & fucked & sang
old folk songs in Latin.
afterwards you translated proverbs
while I made a mountain of armor.
It rained again today & it put out my fire
so we’ll have to play dingo sweet
in the dark.


  • Lynnette

    Omg, these are SO sweet. Congrats to the winners!