This absolutely must be the last of it: this heatwave, right?!
I’m sitting in my friend’s backyard:
“Dang, this joint needs some work!”
The flower bulbs are waiting to be put to sleep, for the winter… What winter?! I’ve been chasing fucking butterflies this morning and playing pingpong with the bodies of wasps. (Don’t worry! I’m so not into the whole animal cruelty thing. But these monsters are curiously attracted to my papaya perfume. So, I give them a lil’ push and watch them fumble away, with their dangly legs, above my head. That’s right!)
The wild weed that broke through the pavement three years ago, when I first met the man, is now a wild shrubbery in dire need of trimming. It’s now taller than the fence. (His child is also taller by now, but she still crunches my heart every time her strawberry chin is in my vicinity. And she looks more — like me.)
The rectangular flower bed usually filled with pungent bright orange flowers that remind me of Russian Septembers is completely desolate right now. I wonder if he had even planted anything this year, or if nothing simply could survive this heat. I have spent most of my summer on the beach; or more north of here, with more tolerable climates and more grounded humanity.
Here, we’re just fried all the time. Baked — out of our better minds.
I noticed it yesterday: this heat-induced irritability that enters all of our faces and makes us lose ourselves, in want. I was craving the caramel-colored heart that my barista draws in the foam of my lattes, in the morning. So, I stepped out, to hunt for it.
Surely, I expected warmth that day. But not this heatwave!
“Coffee? Am I crazy?!”
The traffic along Venice was crawling Westward. The sweaty face of a motorcycle cop showed zero delight in response to my wave as he waited for me to cross: He seemed annoyed, exhausted. Baked inside his helmet — and out of his better mind.
A man in a white tank-top with yellow armpits was walking ahead of me, with two panting Rottweilers, without a leash. In his left hand, he carried an open bottle of beer, super-sized. Be it the heat or the liquor, he swayed and zigzagged quite dramatically across the walkway.
“I hope this poor guy doesn’t collapse from a heat stroke,” I thought and looked back at the irritable cop, in a helmet. He was gone.
I would have caught up to the poor drunk, but the two bitches next to him were meaning business. So, I slowed down too.
I waited for him to get ahead enough, so I could sneak into the door of my barista’s coffee shop, but the red-faced man turned and noticed me. He started staring.
“So pretty,” the man slurred as I took a few hesitant steps to pass his bitches who by then got busy sniffing the streetlight’s pole.
I hesitated and took a sudden turn into the thrift store to my left.
Inside, the heat punched me in the lungs:
“There is not enough air around here,” I thought and looked through the glass door at the bitches outside. Yep, still there. “Fine. I’ll take a look around.”
“Take a look around!” she said.
She had appeared out of nowhere: A face that I would cast for a children’s most feared witch. I thought of the strawberry chin, and it crunched my heart.
“I have a lot of good stuff here!” she continued, sweating and bulging her eyes at me. “And I have a dress I’d love to show you: IT’S SO CUTE!”
A good day for the crazies to be out, I thought, counting myself into that camp. It wasn’t even noon — and I was already starting to feel on edge. Baked — out of my better mind.
Maybe it was the fault of the full moon, from the last couple nights. At first, I thought it was cool: Its roundness reminded me of my motha’s face — and of Russian Septembers. (And neither occurrence — is to be fucked with, by the way!). But then, the heat would not subside even at nighttime. And I would rummage through my linens, in nothing but my ex’s dress shirt, until I would find another cotton sheet to soak through, in my sleep.
The strange face would follow me, from one rack to another. And when at the back of the store, I noticed the backdoor: “Freedom!” I thought. And I charged out.
Once outside, the heat, that seemed to have increased in the last few minutes, punched me in the lungs.
“Fuck coffee! Am I crazy?!”
I made my way back home.
And now, I’m sitting in my friend’s backyard, on the West Side of the city, where the temperatures promised to be more tolerable. The metallic surface of my laptop is now hot enough to fry a stake.
I’m getting messages from NYC about gray skies and blue moods. My comrades wish they could be in the sun.
“Not this much sun!” I respond and bury my hand in a flower pot full of potpourri as dead as… well, potpourri.
To the left of me: A plate full of seashells is sitting on a cracked asphalt. In the winter, I had seen this thing filled with water and moss before; and it used to remind me — of Russian Septembers.
But now, the surface of each shell is whited out and chalky to the touch. I reach out to rearrange them: If I put them to the ear, I think, I bet they are too arid to echo the Ocean.
“Coffee?” my friend sticks his head out, through the back door.
“Coffee? Are you crazy?!” I respond.
“Well, sure. What the hell!”