The fluorescent green popsicle on his table began to drip.
The sun just refused to go back in, didn’t it?
The days seemed to increase by one hour as they passed by. There would be no doubt that today would consist of not less than thirty hours at the least. No kidding.
The light beams from the sun that directly passed through his window and roasted him on his bed made him wonder why exactly God wanted to make him darker.
He turned over.
It wasn’t so bad was it? At least he wouldn’t have to go get tans anymore and it would be nice to have some smooth melanin.
Dylan rolled onto the floor and lay there for three seconds before he finally decided to scrub his body off of yesterday’s dirt. He hadn’t showered the night before, and, quite frankly, he didn’t care. Nothing like coming back home to soak in the scent of his sweaty jacket and the prickly comfort that came with the tiny bush thorns stuck in his hair.
His hair. He definitely needed to wash it today; there would probably be no pleasure in going out looking like Mossy the Swamp Monster.
He staggered into the bathroom like a zombie and parked himself in front of the sink. Looking up would be a horror. He definitely wasn’t ignorant of the fact that he looked like an abominable he-goat in the mornings.
Meh, there was nothing to lose.
Dylan pushed his face up and drew his scattered hair a little ways back with his hands. He smirked.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
He didn’t waste his time complaining about how he was a ‘morning freak’; wishing wake-up time was somewhere around twelve noon, when he’d look like the amazing Brad Pitt.
He pulled off his clothes in a hurry and lazily walked into the shower, running the warm water directly on his hair.
He groaned. Why was everything so – warm?
It didn’t take him minutes to get out and dry himself as though he were killing some disgusting bugs on his body. The water was just so irritatingly warm – like everything else.
Dylan walked out of his room and took a refreshing, warm breath. Then coughed it out. His mom was already screaming some crazy Spanish downstairs. At his sister, he expected.
He didn’t even really know why his mom spoke Spanish to them when they were all North American. Maybe it was her crazy commitment to making them bi-lingual.
He shook his head.
It was the first time he went down the stairs like a normal human being; aka not skipping two steps at a time or totally jumping all the way down; or better still, skateboarding his way down the railing.
“Morning mom,” came the dry, throaty greeting directed to his mom, Casey, or was it, Isabella, as she’d ordered them to be calling her from now on.
Yeah, she really had the whole Hispanic thing going on.
“Morning Dylan, how are you?”
Dylan narrowly escaped his moms ‘warm’ hug as he almost ran into the table, smiling sheepishly.
He drew a chair out, wondering where on earth – or in the house, his sister was, while munching on a banana pancake.
“So what do you plan to do today?” Isabella was bent into the fridge, looking for God-knows-what. Maybe a bottle of Spanish syrup to go with their Spanish pancakes.
“Um, bike around I guess”
He didn’t finish his pancake.
“Okay hon. Be safe.”
She always said that. Like he was travelling overseas or going on some kind of missionary journey.
He raised a brow and headed to the garage to grab his bicycle.
He had some trouble trying to figure out how exactly to loosen his red bicycle helmet from the bike handle. And then he did it.
Dylan was probably the most bored teenage boy in the neighborhood. He decided to do nothing but pedal.
He unlatched the basket from his bike and spotted Dara, the Nigerian girl who lived next door, whom he was terribly attracted to.
Once he looked at Dara it was like there was this huge horseshoe magnet, pulling him, dragging him, towards her. Fatal attraction.
He grinned broadly.
He would stop by to chat, or chill, as she would call it. What better use of his time. As far as he was concerned, he had plenty of it.
He rode out of the compound, his heart beating a little too fast. He met Dara sitting under this sycamore tree that looked like it was someone’s great great grandfather.
“Hey Dara” he got out of his bike and parked.
“Wassup, you weirdo”
He smirked. Dara was a goofball, just like him.
She shifted for him to sit beside her.
“How’s the morning going?” she ruffled his hair, like she usually did whenever she met him. He didn’t ever protest even though it definitely took two hours of his mom’s cussing in Spanish to get them to their almost perfect state.
“Can I say bad?”He lifted a brow.
“Hey! Did you watch the wrestling match last night?”Dara sat up again, like she wasn’t already.
“Nope” Dylan stretched himself out on the grass, ready to listen to Dara talk about the wrestling match.
Dara was a talkative. No kidding. He had heard that her tribe, the Yoruba, were a very loud and chatty tribe in Nigeria. He didn’t doubt it one bit.
He suppressed the urge to kiss her. Just to shut her up maybe.
“And then Ronda was like –“
“Wait, it was the women’s match?” Dylan cut her short.
“Probably why I didn’t watch it”
She smacked him on the arm. Hard.
Then she did this thing that he didn’t understand; this teeth kissing noise she made with her mouth that came out like ‘mtchewww’. It was probably a Nigerian thing or something.
“Hey Dyl, there’s a summer pool party at Tal’s tomorrow. It’s for the class. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You going?”
Dara looked at him.
She rolled her eyes.
He didn’t really know Tal; and as much as he’d want to meet his friends again, he really just didn’t like the warmth. But it would be nice to see Dara in a swimsuit.
“I’ll think about it”
“Yeah suuure” She twitched her mouth.
“I said I’ll think about it”
“In two years” She flung the tails of her long cornrows over her shoulder.
Dylan got defensive.
“No, by tonight”
Dara raised a black brow, staring directly into his emerald colored eyes.
“It’s a dare” she said.
“And if I win...” Dylan grinned.
“Don’t say anything stupid” She echoed, as if it was a normal thing for him to do. Say something stupid.
His grin collapsed dramatically, “Fughedaboutit”
Dara burst out laughing; clutching her stomach and almost falling on top of him.
“You’re crazy” she said finally.
That’s when he heard her mom call from her house.
Mrs. Fisayo had a very audible voice and rarely used her American accent.
Dara picked her phone from the grass.
“I gotta go Dyl”
He straightened up, wishing he could seal Mrs. Fisayo’s lips from calling, “Darasimi!”, so he could spend more time with her.
She was already up, phone in her pocket, tying her black jacket around her hips where she usually hung it. He meant to ask her why.
“See you tomorrow” she smirked.
He grinned too; then watched her leave and turned to his bicycle.
Dylan continued to ride around the street, contemplating whether or not he wanted to attend the pool party at Tal’s.
Of course he did want to meet the guys; and maybe even have a swimming contest with Dara. But Tal acted too suspicious for him.
And then again the warmth.
He thought of riding down to the basketball court to exercise or maybe just throw an orange, surprisingly heavy bouncy ball around a fenced area with marked, asphalt floors.
The pedals rolled faster and he bent over so that air went along his streamlined helmet and he was moving a lot quicker.
Warmth. He hated warmth. Going at this pace at least he could invite some cold air to invade him.
The basketball court was full – obviously. Summer. Summer was the time when everyone was out and the streets could never be even half empty. People would be biking. The park would be filled, kids found the best time to play with water balloons and prank their parents and siblings, pools would be packed, the gym, the courts, and the beaches would be an everyday party ground.
He used to like a girl named Summer. Back in the first year of junior high. From a distance really. She was quite unapproachable and he couldn’t remember talking to her more than three times the whole year. He had lost interest completely, and it was only second term.
He wasn’t sure though, if that was the reason he didn’t really like the season. It was probably just the heat.
But Dara was different. She was like his best friend; even though he had a seriously major crush on her.
Speaking of best friends, Aidan was meant to be out hours ago.
He parked his bike on the lawn beside the court and walked up, drinking the now warm water in his bottle. Thirst held him from spitting the water onto the floor.
Why did everything have to be so irritatingly –
Aidan jogged over to Dylan, who had just closed his water bottle after gulping down the clear liquid in annoyance.
“Wassup dude?’” he said before performing their ritual handshake that was a sort of clasping of hands and then a fist bump.
“What took you so long?”Aidan asked.
He didn’t want to tell Aidan that he’d stopped to see Dara, because he’d tease him. Like he always did.
“I wasn’t even planning on coming, and besides, I’m only late a few minutes.”
“Yeah, a few minutes of wasted muscle building time”
“Wha?” Dylan raised a brow.
They both laughed and walked into the court.
Dylan definitely wasn’t focusing on his B-ball that day; because he was flopping every chance he could. Aidan even had to shout, “Earth to Dylan!”on the court. They couldn’t blame him, it was the warmth. Though it'd never disturbed him this much.
There was just something he really didn’t like in this particular summer.
Aidan eventually timed him out.
“What is wrong with you?” he asked once they had sat on the bench.
“Believe me, I don’t know” Dylan said dryly.
“Can I have your water bottle?”
Aidan slowly reached for his bottle on the floor. “Don’t you have water in yours?”
Dylan grabbed the bottle and took a big swig.
“But it’s warm”
The ride home was surprisingly quiet and a little slow. Maybe it was just him, trying desperately to block out the noises.
“Hey Chloe,” was all he said when he got home, before rushing up the stairs to his room.
His elder sister, Chloe, who was angrily washing the dishes, didn’t even take notice of him.
Dylan got to the room and immediately collapsed on the bed. The melting Popsicle from that morning was still on his table; but it had completely melted and soiled the floor.
He probably wouldn’t take a bath this night either, except his mother found exactly how to scream, “Go wash up Dylan!” in Spanish.
He pulled his phone out from his pocket and read a message from Aidan:
Dyl, are you going for Tal’s party?
He tried to focus. Tal’s party. Tal’s party, Tal’s party!
It was only then that he remembered Dara’s dare.
I’m not sure yet , he typed
Why not? Aidan responded him almost immediately.
Why not? Dylan asked himself the question. He should go. Then he shouldn’t.
He decided to ask his mom. He usually just told her where he was going without having to ask whether he could or not. But he was in a very indecisive state right now. For once, he’d ask.
“Mom!” he called as he hopped down the stairs, holding his phone in his left hand.
“Si, Dylan” she answered from the kitchen.
He couldn’t roll his eyes further into his head.
“Mom, my classmate’s having a pool party tomorrow afternoon; do you think I should go?”
Dylan asked, staring into his phone. She looked up in surprise and cocked her head to the side.
“Well of course, Dylan”
Apparently she had forgotten to speak Spanish.
“Ve a divertite”
And there it was.
Dylan raised a brow, “I speak English remember?”
She groaned and said something in Spanish about them not wanting to learn.
“Go have fun. Enjoy yourself, its summer.”
He thought on those words.
Enjoy yourself, its summer.
He didn’t feel like enjoying himself. But he’d go anyway.
I’ll come over. We should go together, he told Aidan.
Then he scrolled to Dara’s contact.
I’m going, he typed, alongside a smiley.
I don’t believe it. The surprise emoji beside the sentence reminded him of Dara's face
The entire morning was a blur, and he didn’t even get up till his cat-like wall clock struck twelve.
It didn’t take him much time to throw a pair of swim shorts into his knapsack, run out the door and pedal the way to Aidan’s house.
“Shall we leave now?” Aidan had said once he got to his house.
Dylan grinned. He wasn’t eager to get there ‘early’.
The six minutes walk to Tal’s house felt hot. Just an upgrade from what the recent days had been.
Once they got to Tal’s, the noise of all the rowdy teens of his class, splishing and sploshing in the pool, startled him.
Then he saw Dara. She was standing next to the diving board. Dylan couldn’t make out what exactly she was doing.
She turned, trying to trace the direction from which she had heard her name. She finally saw them – he and Aidan, then smirked.
Dylan took a good look at her outfit. She was already wearing her swimsuit. It was a one piece halter neck that went down her bust and had this huge v-shaped show back, it was dark purple and the bottom exposed her thick thighs.
Dylan still looking at her when she ran up to him and ruffled his hair.
She had taken out her cornrows and her black, curly hair was now tied up in a high puff. She was beautiful.
Aidan hugged Dara and then she turned and ruffled Dylan’s hair again.
“I still can’t believe it” she said
Dylan stretched out his arms for his own hug.
“Neither do I”
“Come on, let’s look for the others.” Dylan said once they’d pulled apart.
He was suddenly more expectant towards the summer as he grabbed Dara and Aidan’s hands and started fast walking to the other side of the pool to meet the ‘others’.
Then he felt someone unfamiliar hug him from the front; there was something very different.
There was no warmth.