One Hundred and Fifty Eight – Shanna L
The bright yellow sun hovered high in the sky, beating down on the scorched earth. Its rays stretched towards the parched ground and reflected off of windows and sidewalks. The summer felt like a walking furnace as it baked the land from all directions.
I lazily swirled my fingers in the cool blue water of the swimming pool sending ripples of water to lap against my blow-up raft. The waves caressed my stomach and butt, where they sank lower into the pool, cooling me off for a brief moment or two. I reached over and grabbed the spray bottle sitting on the deck and spritzed my chest and arms, watching as the water beaded up before it evaporated from my overheated skin.
“I hate the summer,” I murmured to Claire.
“Me too,” she replied. “How many days until winter?”
“One hundred and fifty eight,” I sighed and pushed my sunglasses up from where they had slid down the sweaty bridge of my nose. I hated sweat, I hated the heat, and most of all, I hated summer. If I had my way, I would sleep through the months of June, July, August, and September, and only wake when the sweet release of the autumn breeze blew through the air. Anything to hide from the sweltering nebula that forced itself on us in the guise of summer. But, unfortunately, it was the dog days and I was at a stalemate.
A trickle of sweat ran along my hairline and rolled slowly down my cheek. I could feel more sweat gathering at the nape of my neck, saturating my limp, damp hair. The hot summer air was thick with a cloud of chlorine, sunscreen, and bug spray. Heat vapors hissed and rose from the sidewalks, melting everything in sight and turning asphalt into gooey black tar that softened under your feet. The sweet stench of things left out to rot in the sun was all around as the sticky gaze of society stumbled in the flames.
“Snowflakes falling from the sky. Big, white, fluffy snowflakes, landing on my eyelashes,” Claire said. The stagnant impasse was broken and I mused over a response.
“Ice fishing in the middle of a lake wearing only woolen socks.” It was a game we played when the heat became too unbearable. We would think of something cold, something winter, anything to remind us that this heat was only temporary and that soon the sun would retreat behind a veil of clouds and snow. Something to remind us that the summer was just a passing phase and wouldn’t last forever.
“Doing the polar plunge wearing a bikini.”
Sometimes I forget what it feels like to be cold. Sometimes when it is hot like it is now, when the sun is so intense it feels like it is bigger than the sky, I wonder how it can ever be so cold that I would want to wear a hat, gloves, and wool coat. I wonder why I would ever want to put more clothes on, when all I want to do now is take clothes off.
“A snowcone,” I replied. “A big snowcone in a white paper holder, half red and half blue, melting, with water running down my arm.”
Claire laughed. “Do you remember that day when we were kids, when the cold air stung us and we played until our bodies glowed?”
“Yeah,” I smiled. “That was the best day.” I squinted up at the blazing inferno in the sky. One hundred and fifty eight more days.