Just trying to survive

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story about another day in a heatwave. ... view prompt



I live close to Palm Springs California in a town called Indio; it was 121 degrees yesterday. I thought about the heat of tomorrow as my head hit the pillow to sleep.

It was the end of July and we will have to endure this god forsaken heat until September when our desert weather will begin to cool off.

I was thinking about what to do tomorrow, how to cope as I drifted off to sleep.

The dream was floating, lazily along the recesses of my brain. It was rolling gently along the banks of my memory. It was fluttering as softly as butterfly wings delicately tapping on the windows of my soul trying to awaken me with the recollection of it. I am sure that the dream is coming from someplace within the depths of my soul.  I try and remember the dream. It is sliding like the morning tide back into my memory bank. It is gliding swiftly through the recesses of my brain and rapidly dumping itself into the emptiness of my being. I am drowning with the non-thought of it! I feel a fluttering jolt. The dream comes back to me. I was lying on a cool winter snow bank and smiling.

 My brain awoke slowly. My body was still asleep, but the sound of "Mother F-----", began to ooze out of the side of my head slithering onto my pillow like hot lava flowing down the side of the mattress until I heard it "Plop" on the bedroom floor. Knowing I was waking up "Son of a Bitch", flew out of my mouth, it hit the wall and smashed into a million floating tiny 'sons of bitches', scattering throughout the room. I knew I had to face another day with the sweltering desert heat.

I was fully awake now and made my way into the kitchen to start a pot of Dark French Roast Trader Joe’s coffee. My black and white shi-poo puppy, Bella, trotting be hide me. I turned the news on low volume. My husband was still asleep, his soft snoring sounds blunted soundlessly behind the closed bedroom door. Today was going to be 123 degrees. I pushed the “Back” button on the TV remote, “Did I just hear 123 degrees”? Yes, I did. “Oh, My”!

As I opened the freezer door to get out the whole bean coffee to grind, I noticed the contents of the freezer were getting low. I wanted to climb in and close the door.

"Crap", time to make another shopping list for my daughter. She and her family had been a godsend for my husband and I who had been sheltering in place these last four months. She does the shopping and places the bags on our front porch. "God", I miss spending time with them, I miss Joanna, my incredible granddaughter too. The only “Good” thing about this pandemic was the fact we had to stay home anyway. God knows, its way too hot to spend time outside. We used to be able to get away for a few weeks in the highs of the summer heat, not now with this raging pandemic you couldn’t fly. Our beautiful summer home on Lake George was out. We tried to rent an RV but there were no cool places along the coast to park it. A condo was out; you could get infected by just touching a spot an infected person touched. So here we are, stuck inside, stuck in unbearable heat, stuck like a wad of gum melting on a hot sidewalk.

I took my coffee, opened the back sliding door and the sweltering heat hit my body like I was walking into a crematorium! I had visions of my skin melting off my body and oozing like a puddle of candle wax at my feet. I was barefooted and the bottom of my souls began to blister. I hurried to turn on the patio misters, at least the temperature would drop while I was having my morning cigarette and coffee. I began to check my face book pages, my email and my phone messages. Contact, the only contact I had with the outside world now.

I’ve lived in the desert area since 1984. Our desert weather is usually idyllic for eight and a half months of the year; usually around 75 or 80 degrees. This summer is said to be the hottest on record. We have “Dry” heat they say, but today it is starting to get humid and steamy.

I wipe my brow, take off my P’J’s and slowly plunge my nakedness into the semi-cool water. I lay on my back and float; thinking of cooler times. Thinking how fast your life can change in a mere few months, thinking how the unrest in America is changing our country and waiting, waiting for November 3, waiting for cooler weather, waiting for cooler heads, waiting for our life to become somewhat normal again.

 I know this coolness I’m surrounded by will be over as soon as my body hits the hot humid air again. I put my head under water and think; do I really want to come up for air? I stay under the timid water until my air has run out. My heads pops out and I gasp to breathe again taking in the hot summer morning.  I long for sleep tonight, to dream of frozen snow banks, cool winter storms and coats and jackets.

I shake my head and realize there are tears mixed with the chlorine water running down my cheeks. I scream out loud! I pound on the water splashing in space. I once again drop my body and head under the water, this time I may just be able to stay there. “Is it cool in heaven”? Do I want to know?

My husband opens up the door and yells, “What are you doing”? I hear his voice under the water; raise my head and say, “just trying to survive the heat honey, just trying to survive”.  

August 01, 2020 20:10

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