The heat is heavy and wet, as if you took a thick blanket from the dryer when it was still damp and laid it over your face. Your lungs suck in air that nearly chokes you. Sweat tickles your scalp and trickles down your back.
I want to be near you, but I don’t want to touch you, not now. Not when the air between us is the only thing keeping us from melting and sticking together. But would that be so bad really? If we two became one flesh?
You smile at me, but it is a tired smile. A stifled smile.
We were going to go away this summer. To a beach somewhere. Camping. Sleeping in a tent beneath trees that whisper in the summer breezes. Swimming in a lake and cooking meals over an open fire.
Instead, we are stuck at home, trying to breathe heavy air.
You lay on your back, legs and arms splayed out to catch the breeze from the three fans that stir the air around, futilely fighting to push back the heat.
When we moved here, summers were hot and dry, bearable. Now, the humidity is killing us. We need to scrape together enough money to buy a window a/c unit, but we can barely feed ourselves right now. Maybe we can put aside some of that $2K you got from the CERB when you were laid off in March. But your new job pays less than your old one, and we may need the cash for food.
Starve or die of heat stroke?
I would ask my parents for a loan but they would only ask me if I was still with you. If they would just give you a chance, see you the way I do. But they won’t. You are the evil gay who stole their child away.
You hear a rumble of thunder in the distance and taste a hint of rain on the air. Is it starting to cool? Just a bit?
Perhaps we will live after all.
This story is a response to Prism & Pen’s writing prompt Stifled Summer Travels.
Other stories so far —
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