It was excruciatingly hot. The kind of temperature that caused utter delirium. It had been that way for days now, and finally the searing heat had become an impenetrable miasma; visible, audible, touchable. Everything was moving, the atmosphere was preventing buildings and roads from standing still, the wavy lines of humidity were so prominent that the outside appeared to be floating. Trees were blistering, nature was humming with anticipation. It wasn’t the sort of weather they were used to, and so the people flocked to the parks and grassland to relish the overdue arrival of the sun. Basking in the rays and ignoring any discomfort, too pleased that they would glow golden brown before the onset of winter.
But Ellie was desperate to get some relief from it; she hadn’t slept at all this week. And as she climbed into bed that evening she fell into the same pattern. She was in the grips of an artificial fever, half miserable, half elated, she dozed through strange dreams of sand and parched lands. A mirage haunted her sore eyes, she couldn’t see clearly and despite the slow indolence of her nightmare she felt scared. Sheets sweat drenched and mind fraught with restlessness, she’d decided to stop waiting for sleep and go out into the garden. She took the steps quietly, so as not to wake anyone. Unlocking the door she slumped onto the patio cross legged, hoping the cold stone would relax her feverish skin. She listened to see if anyone had stirred, but the night was silent. Void of all the intensity of the tardy summer days. She peeled off her vest and lit a cigarette. A little apprehensive at first in case she was seen, soon the cautiousness faded as she began to feel release. There was a calm breeze and it rushed round her moist pelt. She prickled with pleasure. It’s what she’d been yearning for, and the liberation was like no other.
She laid down on the slabs now, her bare back responding to the cool caress with goose pimpled appreciation. Ellie felt emitted, almost euphoric, as her body gained some serenity. She could see again, everything was motionless, normal. She took one long lug of tobacco and flicked the stub away, freeing her hands to stroke the grass beside her. She felt the condensation on her fingers and began to feel a little embarrassed that the heat wave had consumed her like it had. What had she been frightened of?
The garden looked scenic, she didn’t know what time it was but early signals of dawn appeared to have permeated the dark canvas, turning the sky a shade of purple and indicating another day of glaring heat. She sighed, the thought of another day like today wasn’t what she needed right now. And so as she ignored tomorrow’s inevitabilities, Ellie’s eyelids fell and she made no attempt to move. She wanted to enjoy this moment for as long as possible.
By the time she realised it was raining, her hair was sodden and she was shivering. She sprung to her feet and ran to the house smiling. She still didn’t like the heat, and it looked like it was here to stay a while longer, but she’d seen that there was a place of escapism waiting for her in the hushed hours of nightfall.
And it was almost worth the discomposure of those sweltering days.
Written by Becky Shepherd
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