Originally written on September 7, 2018
The smell of freshly cut grass lingered in the air as she stepped off the sidewalk and on to the lawn. The heat of the day clung to every pore on her body and showed no signs of letting up. It had been 2 weeks of heat. There was nothing she could do to escape the sweltering sun and humidity. She reached for her keys, such a simple task, they became tangled in her headphones. As the knot grew so did her frustration. All she wanted was to get inside, remove her sweat soaked clothing and lie naked in front of the fan for the rest of the night. As she untangled the mass she gave up and simply stuck the keys into the knob. Tangle and all. There was momentary relief as some of the small amount of cool air trapped inside the apartment touched her skin. There was a stillness. She closed the door behind her and began to remove the layers of her day.
The keys and headphones found themselves, still intertwined, on the side table under the coat rack, her shoes kicked off near the front door, her computer bag leaned up against the wall. As she walked down the narrow hallway towards the bright glow of her bedroom she reached back to unzip her dress. The zipper caught around the waist. This morning it had been crisp and clean, one of her favourites. It had now become the last remaining obstacle. Her sticky fingers struggled to reach the tab in a way that offered any sort of leverage. She gathered the fabric on the waist of the dress and pulled it tightly together and tried working the zipper up and down while contorting her body until finally there was sweet release. She dropped her arms out of the straps and let the dress drop to the floor creating a damp floral pool around her ankles.
She stepped over to the mirror and caught a glimpse of her body. Hair stuck to her face, heavy red indents from the seams of her clothing, blotchy patches angry and bright. She paused to look closer. She could see every bit of herself. She took a deep breath in through her nose, allowing for her body to fill with air. As she released the air from her mouth she let her body crumple from a tall powerful pose into a heavy crescent moon. No posture. Curved spine. Sitting heavy on her pelvis. She stared a moment, having forgotten the reason she entered the bedroom in the first place. When she comes back to her side of the mirror, alive and three dimensional, she clicked on the the fan that sits at the foot of her bed, drew the curtains closed and laid on the floor her back sticking to the wood. The sound of the blade whirring and the gentle breeze of the fan relaxed her. She closed her eyes and felt every hair on her body touched by the breeze. There was a small buzzing sound of cicadas seeping in through the closed window. They are screaming for attention. A constant reminder that the heat is heavy and bearing witness to its damage. The dull buzzing quieted as she slips away, eyelids heavy with summer sleep.
She opened her eyes. What felt like a moment was hours. She propped herself up on one elbow to recalibrate. Her body weighed her down. Every movement took a great amount of effort. She sat on the edge of her bed taking her too heavy head in her hands. The stretch in the back of her neck both a comfort and unwelcomed at the same time. Minutes had passed and, when she can bear the thought of sitting still no longer, she retreated to the kitchen. The cool air from the open fridge was a welcome indulgence. She lingered with the door open longer than was necessary to let her skin feel alive. As the door closed she saw the envelope stuck with a magnet from Niagara Falls. She left it. She’s left it many times before. Sometimes she forgets about it. It has become a piece of the kitchen as common as the toaster that sits on her counter or the plates that live in the cupboard. Sometimes, when she hasn’t thought about it in quite some time, she finds herself unable to tear her eyes off of it. On days like this she finds herself fingering the corners of the once pointed edges, now worn down. She wonders what shapes are in there that make letters and what letters are in there that make words. What could those words, strung together, possible say that she doesn’t already know. The writing on the front of the envelope is loopy and bold. It has left a deep indent on the paper.