I hate the heat. More specifically, the humidity. Today is 90 degrees and about as humid as you can get. Blistering heat. Nauseating heat. Pick your adjective and it fits.
So I’m trying my best to ignore this scorching, miserable heat, sweat dripping down my body in buckets, reading glasses slipping off my nose, when my husband enters the sunroom modeling swim trunks he’s had since the Regan administration.
“Wanna go swimming?” he says.
“Umm…you going like that?”
“Yeah. Why? You don’t like this suit?”
My gaze sidles. “Where would we go?”
We live in a vacationer’s paradise. Each week Newfound Lake gives itself a blood transfusion with seven underground springs. Which makes it perfect swimming water. Hence, why our area floods with people in the warm weather.
“I dunno. The lake?” he says.
Now I’m envisioning being on the beach with hundreds of people, each having a towel-width of space. Men wearing black knee socks and sandals. Don’t laugh. It happens more than you’d think around here. But I’m gazing into Bob’s eyes and I can’t crush his eager spirit. “The lake?” Involuntarily my upper lip twitches. “Haven’t you found a private inlet somewhere yet?”
He hangs his head. “No.”
“I would, but I don’t have a suit. I haven’t bought one since we moved here.” I probably have one somewhere, but if I’m going out in public I’ll be damned if I’m going in a suit from the 90’s.
“Isn’t that a bathing suit top?”
Men. “No. It’s a sports bra. Big difference.”
“No one’s gonna know. C’mon. It’ll be fun.”
This, I didn’t need. I’m sweating– No. My mother always said: horse’s sweat, men perspire, women glow. So, I’m glowing like a firefly in July, a puddle of glow? under my chair and my husband wants me to slap on a happy face and parade down the beach in my sports bra and shorts. Help me, Jesus!
A ball skids across the room and our dog cries, breaking Bob’s concentration and reverting his attention away from the lake idea.
For once my dog does me a favor. Normally, he’s a jerk. I don’t often admit this, but it’s true. I had seven–count ’em, seven!–sweet, loving babies and him…the troublemaker. Guess who’s still with us? The one who allows us to pet him–when HE feels like it. Who doesn’t like company. Who refuses to share the fan. And to top it off, he now suffers from separation anxiety. If he is more than three feet away he cries until we move closer. Because God forbid HE move. Not in this lifetime. He’s a playful boy, too, for nine years old. One his favorite activities is bouncing a ball–off my face. He rolls it down my leg, over my arms, across my keyboard. Because I’m not paying attention to him.
Yeah. You know the kind. If he were human he’d be the bully in school. Yup, that’s my kid…the jerk. Still, we love him with all our hearts, buy him anything his little–and I mean little–heart desires. For instance, because of the heat Bob brought him home Frosty Paws. He devoured it in seconds, glanced over his shoulder and threw us the stink eye. “You gonna put another one in here, or do I have to beg? Bitches.”
Between the swimsuit auditions, the ball bashing me in the face, and the heat, I needed a few moments of peace. I decided to take a shower. You know, cool off a bit. I just get my hair shampooed and…CRACK. Lightning shakes the house.
Oh, great. Now I’m gonna die…in the shower no less. Then something else occurs to me. If I do die, would Bob release my trunk novels? I tiptoe in between the drops, praying to God that a lightening bolt doesn’t shoot out of the faucet and strike me dead before I have a chance to tell Bob, “Under no circumstances are those books to be released. Ever!”
After that relaxing time away, I rejoin my family. It’s getting late now so the lake is off the table…for today. I get back to work on my latest manuscript that I’m tearing to shreds and Bob wants to chitchat. About nothing. Just ramble on and on and on and on. It is Sunday, after all, so I stop what I’m doing and smile. “Uh-ha. Wow. Really?” I have no idea what I’m saying, but it’s going over well so I must be close.
He strolls into the kitchen, presumably to go upstairs and change out of that suit he’s owned since Moby Dick was a guppy. “Oh…my…God!” he says. “What IS that?”
Now, he has my full attention. “What is it?”
“I don’t know. It’s a…a…I don’t know. It’s big, though.” He gives the hardwood the lightest tap I’ve ever heard. Like his big toe barely swept over the floor.
Now, if I saw something as gigantic as he made it out to be, you can be sure I’d be stomping my foot. But no.
“That’s it? Tap? How big could it be if all you’re going to do is…tap?”
“What? I got it.”
“Well, what was it?”
“A bumble bee…I think.”
“And a tap like that killed it? A bumble bee. Come on.”
“Then it obviously wasn’t that big. Men, always making things out to be larger than they really are. Typical.”
“I’ll prove it.” He swipes a paper towel and marches into the living room. Gently scoops it up and carries it over. “Actually, it’s a spider. Wow. It’s got big sacks of babies on its back too. This thing’s enormous.”
“A spider? The size of bumble bee?”
“Yeah. It’s huge. Look.” He unfurls the towel, and I peer over his shoulder expecting to witness a grotesque spider.
I sigh, and open the fridge. “What do you want for supper?”
“Whatever. I’m easy.”
“How about ice cream?”
“Yeah, Mr. Easy. That a problem?”
He ignores me.
“Fine. I’ll throw a steak on the grill.” Forgetting that we’re expecting torrential thunderstorms any second and have already been experiencing lightening galore.
I throw the steak on the grill and…CRACK. Within seconds, sheets of rain fall from the sky. The electricity flickers. Goes out. Flickers.
I’m not wasting twenty bucks worth of steaks, so if you don’t hear from me again you’ll know why. I’m face-up on my deck, dead or in a coma, holding a metal grill fork with long, dark scorch marks running up and down my body.
I hate the heat.