You have to be here to understand. Everything smells like it's on fire. Is that my engine? The elementary school? The pumps at the gas station? A brush fire on I-5, the fur of the animals at the zoo? It won't make sense unless you're here.
I've given up everything. Dishwashing first, always, then meals, then clothing, the need to sleep with something covering me. I abandon hair-drying, the longing for sunshine, the process of falling in love, the desire to leave work at the end of the day. I wonder which ex-boyfriend kept that fan, and everything starts to look the way everything looks in those movies where the camera lingers on someone alone, the scenery going by, a child's fingers on the car window.
There is no loneliness in heat this close, and misery is possible the first day, but after the second I've given that up too. The heat takes on another form, like time, when you're waiting. In a moment of relief, we watch the preview for a movie where someone says "Time heals, they say, but the years get heavier as they go. They don't tell you that," and that's what the heat is like. Oppressive like a grief whose root is the deepest joy, so that when these things are upon you, you cannot tell the difference between them, between heat and time and what is sad and made you happy, they are all the same, all more than you ever intended to bear, but no one cancels work and the coffee shop is still open, though silent from the heat, and you don't call the ex-boyfriend with the fan, and as hot as you are, there is always another bead of sweat for the small of your back, more heat rising off the nape of your neck. For now there is just this popsicle, this lime juice, this cold cold movie theater and tomorrow, again, the sanctuary of work.