Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot

The cool melted ice cream dripped down the cone and between Jessie's thumb and forefinger. She ran her tongue across the creamy treat, collecting the drips, and feeling the cold smoothness enter her mouth and slide down her throat. The heat was climbing to a steamy and humid 99 degrees, and she was glad she had searched under her bed for the change to buy this ice cream. The tingling of the ice cream truck's bells faded into the distance, and she squinted into the blinding hot sun. No shade was offered for relief since there were no trees. She could practically see the steam rising off the black tar underneath her feet. Even the boys shooting hoops had stopped, reduced to sitting on the bench and dribbling, sweat darkening their shirts underneath their arms and on their backs. The bounce of the basketballs echoed across the court.

Jessie wandered over to the playground and sat on the hot metal of the merry-go-round. She could feel the simmer through her cut-offs. She hated summer. This heat! Even at night, she couldn't sleep, even with the windows in her bedroom wide open. No breeze cut through the humidity, and she would lay, sweating, arms and legs stretched out, too hot to sleep. She wasn't a huge fan of school, but at least the fall offered cool, crisp air and the crunch of dried grass beneath her feet. Jessie sighed. The weatherman on the news this morning predicted even higher degrees for the rest of the week.

She stared across to the horizon. Flat as a Frisbee. She missed New England, with its' woods and hills. Scenery. Something to look at. Her mom had moved them to the Midwest because of the real estate value. Boston was becoming so expensive, she couldn't get any clients. She seemed to be doing ok here, but Jessie and her younger brother Len suffered. Moving in the middle of the summer makes it hard to make friends, not to mention the lack of entertainment. The merry-go-round she was sitting on was half of a playground; the second half being the swingset with 2 plastic swings. Then there was the basketball court, but who wants to play with sweat pouring in your eyes? Not to mention the fact that the neighborhood boys took over and refused to play with Len because he was too young. Len had stayed home today, wallowing in his room, upset that he has no one to play with.

The merry-go-round creaked and Jessie felt another weight tip it just the tiniest bit. She turned her head, expecting to see that her brother had become bored and came out to join her. Instead she saw a skinny girl with long blond hair standing on the other side. The bones of her wrist popped out as she gripped the handles. She looked at Jessie curiously.

"You're new," She stated.

Jessie nodded. What do you say to such a true statement?

"I'm Nell. You want to come over? We have air conditioning." She turned around and ambled away, not even waiting to see if Jessie was going to follow.

Jessie stared, shrugged, then grinned. Maybe this summer will be entertaining after all.

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