She sighed, zipping her suitcase close. Pulling her knelt body up, she stretched her arms, twisted her waist till a satisfying popping of joints was heard. The beads of sweat trickled down her forehead hanging among her bushy dark brown brows. Her slender fingers wiped the damp salty brows. The beads dropped onto the carpeted floor camouflaging into the red Turkish carpet. The sight of the thick fluffy jacket hanging on the stand made her cheeks red, soaking her in her own precipitation.
"One more day!", She said to herself, "No sweat! Finally!", she tried to motivate herself to pull the heavy suitcase to its wheels, "I would be free. The crystals of joy! The wintry sun would brighten up the day. It won't be cursed! It will be yearned!"
"Sierra!", her mom smiled knocking at the door holding a muffler and a beanie in one hand and a white smock and light blue jeans.
"Mom!", Sierra rolled her neck and sighed grabbing the smock and the jeans from her mom's hand, "I need winter clothes. Australia is FREEZING in July!", but her mom kept blabbering to herself about how Sierra should slip into the jacket, the beanie, and the muffler as soon as the plane lands in Melbourne.
"Mom.", Sierra added quietly, pushing the clothes in mom's hand. Her eyes begged for justification. The stress of sending her daughter away had made Sierra's mom weird. Both mother and daughter were tired of running in and out of their apartment for errands like attestations, medical fitness certificate, equivalency, and God knows what with heat raining down on them like breaths of hell. Dubai was hot, and it had fried their brain cells out of their skulls. The sun rays hitting everything, knocking them down with an oppressive temperature of 47°C and the real feel of about 50°C.
"We are going to La Mer. Get ready.", her mom hugged her.
"It's hot, mom.", she closed her eyes as her mom caressed her forehead wiping the cool beads of sweat. The cold air conditioning calmed Sierra down.
"I won't be seeing you before December. We must have fun, right?"
The sheer thought of going out in the scorching sun, stepping over the baked sand, the hair clinging to the head trapping heat within made her skin glisten. But her love for her mom ran deeper than the heat trapped in her. She knew things would become challenging, and both of them would be left alone trying to figure things out themselves.
Her mom stared in her eyes, "I love you.", her mom whispered trying to stop her voice from cracking.
"Me too.", Sierra wanted to say. She wanted to tell her mom she felt the same, however, she lacked courage. She just smiled and wriggled out of her mom's arms.
"I am calling Jane and Alex. I hope they are up for this too.", she ran towards the bathroom for a quick shower.
"They are!", her mom folded her arms and smiled to herself feeling proud of her daughter's achievement. The painful memories of domestic abuse and divorce became easier to be pushed back at the back of her mind. She headed to the kitchen to pack some snacks and water bottles in a backpack. The other backpack was prepared for the extra pair of clothes.
As they stepped outside the building walking towards the car in the parking lot they were greeted by hot muggy weather. They shared a queasy glance. The air was still. Not a leaf fluttered. The birds were silent. The packed parking lot was sweltering with heat emitting cars. The salty beads made their skin glossy forming a mustache of sweat above the upper lip.
The air inside the car was searing and stale. It felt like an oven. Reluctantly, they sat inside, buckling themselves to the seats. They rolled the windows down for ventilation, blasting the air conditioning for cool air. As the car sped down the roads they blocked the sultry weather by rolling the windows up.
Jane and Alex welcomed Sierra engulfing her into a hug. They sunglasses reflecting Sierra's unusual shyness. She was uncomfortable. The dress sticking to her body made her clammy. Their beach hats failed to block the blazing sun rays filtering through them. The palm trees stood tall in the airless atmosphere surrounded by beautifully adorned freshly cut grass patches. The pathways shaded with canopy could not help lower the heat either.
With every passing second under the blazing and tormenting sun, Sierra's frustration was increasing. The sand under her bare feet was smoldering as they moved towards the beach. Her lung burned with arid winds. The intense white rays made her eyes squint. A sudden gush of hot arid wind slapped the smoldering white sand granules in their faces. The heat was boiling her blood, turning her red.
Jane, Alex and Sierra's mom unpacked the snacks after finding the luxury of summer; shade. Sierra was lost in her thoughts taking smalls steps towards the water. Her thoughts had blocked her friends' voices who were joyfully chasing each other.
"Sweat is soaking my dress, making foreign land's map. Here it goes.", she felt the sweat trickle down her back, "The BB cream will come to wipe clean if I wipe my face. It's unbearable. Unbearable! Unbearable! Unbearable! Unbearable! UNBEARABLE! UNBEARABLE! UN--"
As her feet stepped onto the soft cool sand, the calmness rushed through her veins. The waves kissed her feet gently draining the heat out of her.
The old memories flashed in front of her eyes playing like a motion picture film on the film reel. Sierra smiled as she saw her eleven years old self splashing water sliding down the water slide into the swimming pool. The sheen of sweat covering her back as she ran across the football field with the football. The sweat-soaked waistband of the shorts did not bother her.
"It's worth a little sweat to spread smiles on the teams face.", she recalled her speech as the captain of her highschool's team. Her skills in football had gotten her into the university of her choice. The scholarship meant to her a lot more than she could imagine.
Her eyes squinted as the rays fell on her sunburned face. She smiled embracing the touch of the middle eastern sun. The friend of all times! The sun that makes sweat worth whatever she owns today.
She pulled her beach hat off letting her hair down. She crossed her legs sitting down on the moist sands allowing it to smother and soil her jeans. The gentle salty waves enveloped her. The sticky smock shaped into her curves; her hair clinging to her cheeks. Her eyes stung because of the cells' interaction with a hypertonic saline solution.
Jane and Alex paused watching Sierra recover from her thoughts. Her feet floated in the water waving at them. They laughed dragging Sierra's body by her feet deeper into the water. Sierra screamed and roared in delight, splashing water around.
She was back in the time, feeling alive, living for today, forgetting the future. Watching the three friends' silhouette laughing and giggling, Sierra's mother joined them. The shells crunched underneath their feet. Soon four were floating on their backs with sun-warmed water forming ripples around them.
Water has the power to wash the frustration away. She did not squint a bit as the sun showered its rays on her. She smiled, staring back at the sun, feeling relaxed. The cloudless maya-blue sky was turning orange It was the time to say Middle Eastern sun goodbye; the goodbye full of love and memories, brimmed with tears and joys of success, the goodbye with a hope that they would unite again.