It was hot.
Climbing buildings, roots deep in the underbelly of the city’s financial heart. Parasitical towers fast becoming my prison. The sky locked by the reflection of window against window, in a dizzying, unending effect. Spent diesel, tangled with the pungent assault of overcooked hotdogs, weary commuters and melting iced cappuccinos clogged the streets with the fragrance of summer in the city. Every ounce of my sweaty body ached as it cried out in agonizing remembrance of the sweet, fresh rocky mountain air of my youth.
I blame the heat.
That sphere, shining down through our own business-rimmed magnifying lens as we scurried from place to task, trying not to ignite ourselves, seemed to be spewing vindictiveness. It bore no smile of the season. Children hid in air conditioned contentment. Homeless cats yawned under lonely deck chairs and hammocks that faded into garage sale wares in the non-existent breeze. Its cruel light, deceptively gentle and comforting when we looked out from our double-wide cubicles on the twenty-third floor of the Commercial Tower, enticed us to dance beneath its rays in salutation; simple mortals, fooled by celestial wonders, we complied.
We were hungry.
We walked to the “market”, an over-commercialized version of a farmer’s stand. Nothing was truly organic in this city anymore, but each stall still loudly displayed the chic tattoo. It should only have taken us minutes to get there. Dahlia dawdled, lagging behind. We two, remaining, bore no concern. She was one for smelling flowers and inquiring of dogs’ names. We had not heard her choice when we offered lunchtime restaurants. She must have returned to the office for there were no dogs, with tongues lolling from hot mouths, and no flowers wilting on the path. Though we both agreed it was uncommon and a little odd of her, we obliged the courting sun and walked on.
We couldn’t eat.
The newest and cleanest spots to dine at the market were nothing more than dripping walls and dissolving chalkboard signs. The food, taken from ovens and skillets, aged by the time they made it to our hands, overcooked. We thought it funny now, that we were no longer hungry. We refilled our cups and spilled the cool warm water down parched throats. Revived, we stepped into the street to retrace our lunchtime steps. Dahlia had gone home for the afternoon we surmised, as we reached down to retrieve the rose colored scarf that had slipped from her neck into a warming roadside puddle.
It was hot.
The office was empty now, and the day called to a close on account of an un-repairable air conditioning unit on our floor. As we tumbled out of the lift, into the underground pathway leading to the tunnels, cool, manufactured breezes woke us from our daze. Beating the ordinary rush and crunch of the workday world, the ride home was surprisingly pleasant. My cat, Rude, asleep on the television stand when I arrived, reprimanded my homecoming as an intrusion on a wonderful dream of slow moving mice and pails of unsouring milk. He was right. A nap, with the shutters drawn and the windows repelling the light, was really the only way to spend such an attack.
I blame the heat.
Dahlia’s husband appealed on the local news for months for her return.
I kept her scarf; I’ve always been sentimental.
BIO: Award winning journalist and author Freedom Chevalier has worked continually in various written mediums since retiring from live (stage / music) performance in the mid-nineties. Her work has been published /produced internationally. Additional information can be found on her website:www.FreedomChevalier.com. On a personal, she lives with #MarcelTheCat, and her little dog, too, Tallulah. She is dyslexic and believes her ADHD is really a secret weapon…and, she really has heard every possible joke about her name.
Look for her novel “Pundit,” set in the gritty world of stand-up comedy, Autumn 2015.