Eleven thirty-seven. He tugged at his collar. He could’ve sworn he saw the steam escaping. He cursed out loud. ‘It’s going to kill me,’ he said. He took the little cloth and wiped the sweat off his face.
Twelve fifteen. ‘This is not going to get any better,’ he thought. He walked around the house shakily, closing the windows and drawing the thick blinds in every room. ‘At least now there’ll be shade. God, I hope that means less heat.’
One thirty-three. He stood up. He couldn’t bear it. Not any more. It had only gotten worse. He practically ripped off his shirt. Wiped himself with it and tossed it aside. Collapsed onto the cool stone floor under the fan. Oh, relief!!!
Two forty-six. Now in just his shorts, still on the floor, still uncomfortable. The heat was unbearable now. Not even the floor was helping. He let out a low moan. Those curses coming thick and fast now. He was parched – mouth, throat, it was all dry. But he couldn’t get up for a glass of water. Too much effort. So he just lay there, breathing, his body slick with sweat. Glistening.
Four twenty-eight. Evening had brought with it none of its usual respite. Everything baked in the orange-ing sunlight. ‘So this is what it feels like to be the Kalahari,’ he thought. Even like this, humour didn’t leave him. Never would, he swore. Around about then, he started wishing she was there. On the bright side, it meant he repented the fight. But he just lay there, breathing, thinking of a better time.
Nine eleven. Darkness had brought with it silence. Nothing else. Clouds hung in the sky. Mocking. Calling. Of course, if his curtains weren’t drawn, he’d have known that. But he just lay there, breathing, alone, miserable.
Eleven four. ‘Whoever said night was cooler than day, fucking lied.’ The line kept repeating in his head. Of course, the weather outside told a very different tale. Because the heat was now trapped inside the house. Windows shut. Curtains drawn. One unmoving occupant. If only he’d had a drink of water… But he just lay there, breathing, cursing in his mind.
Two twenty-six. ‘The phone’s rung five times. I think. I’m not sure anymore. Must be her. Calling to make up. It’s around that time. She probably thought I was asleep or something. Wait, I can’t see the ceiling anymore. Three mails I had to send. That last Doors album. Had it finished downloading? Can’t remember. There she is. The beach. That not-so-hidden corner. That wall. Sun blaring down on us. The beggars when we were leaving. Oh, look! There’s the ceiling. Hmm… That’s odd, the cracks seem to spell out her name. I should tell her that.’ But he just lay there, breathing.
Two fifty-two. The first drop. Stayed on the ground for a fraction of a second before the earth soaked it in. They followed in the thousands. Falling together. Calling him out. Screaming to him. Singing his song. The earth broke out that fresh spring cologne it wore to their parties. They pattered against his window, beckoning. But he just lay there.
Three seventeen. Thunder boomed a salute in the distance. A note of finality in the air. Together with the wind and the rain, it played a sonata. One of his favourites. A heavy, crashing tattoo that usually made him want to dance with them. The drops journeyed to his window and cried. But he just lay there.