There is something about thick summer heat – the kind that winds itself into every nook and cranny on your body, sneaking underneath your shirt, lying like an extra layer of clothing on your skin, that makes me feel electric. As though the submersion of my skin in this wet heat shocks me into a euphoric sense of being. Like I have just fought and won a war. It reminds me of so many things, like that fragrant breath of air, blossoms, that occasionally break through the wall of dampness. It uplifts me and reminds me I am alive. Like the hot summer nights when we would sit outside until all hours, wearing as little as possible, talking against the sound of crickets performing their nocturnal minuet – and the dread of going to bed where sweaty tossing and turning awaited me.
Or the time my mom and I went walking because that’s what we liked to do, her long legs, leather keds and impertinent head of curls making her seem more school girl than woman – walking and talking in the thick summer heat until storm clouds formed overhead – followed by that sense of forboding then adventure. Where can we go? Until suddenly the storm broke – rain, clouds and thunder. We grabbed each other’s hands and ran like children to take refuge in the local school. We sat on a bench, my mom dangling those impossible legs – looking every bit the truant I knew she had been as a child, now a grown woman. I think about how that summer heat carried us that day. How we flew on its wings -how the alchemy of summer turned ordinary to extraordinary, to exotic and beautiful.