Heat

How hot is it?

Bloody hot. Awfully hot. Terrifically  hot. Hot enough to melt butter. Too hot by eight in the morning for dogs on asphalt. The fake leather on the car seat burns your thighs. Don’t touch the table-top outside the café. Train rails buckle and warp. Children cry all night.

What can you do in such heat?

Flee to Finland. Fly to Tierra del Fuego. Crawl into a dark place. Talk to the heat people.

The who?

The heat people. The Wavering Ones. Right there in front of you. Keep you company on a day like today.

What do they say?

They don’t talk, compañero.

What do they do?

They remind you what it’s like to live in this kind of heat.

You’re here—why do you need to be reminded?

You’re funny. You’re not here. We’re not here. In this heat, none of us is here. We hallucinate ourselves. We recall ourselves. We are a step away from ourselves. We try to re-member ourselves because we are not able to member ourselves. But we don’t try very hard. We try between shallow breaths without lifting a finger. We are incorporeal. We live in a languid Hell. No flames, only shimmers. No nightmares but a plethora of dreams. There is no such thing as sin here, and if there were we would be too slow to commit it.

Could you commit a sin of omission?

We are the sin of omission. We are dissolving even before we die. That’s a sin, probably. But we disinvent sin. It rolls away like a bead of sweat. No one thinks they’re getting away with anything. We fluctuate. Heat and light.

Do questions matter in this season?

Everything has already been asked. Everything has been answered. The Wavering Ones keep us company. They don’t judge, or ask, or answer. You ask if questions matter. Everything matters, nothing matters. I watch the Wavering Ones. They’re good company. They don’t ask questions.

Can I quench your thirst? Make you a drink?

The fresh squeezed juice of sugar cane. It smells like freshly cut grass.

Will it save you?

There’s nothing from which I need to be saved, and nothing to save myself for.

Do you think this conversation might be more lively in autumn?

You know the answer to that, my friend. In spring we thought summer would be sin. In autumn we will decide if it was. For now I can tell you only what I’ve told you. It is hot enough for rain to evaporate before it hits the ground. Hot enough to forget who you are.

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