Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Monster that Waits in My Bathroom Every Morning


The alarm wakes me up.  I huddle in my friendly cocoon of fake air-conditioned air, not wanting to leave.  I breathe well.

I take one last breath, wince, and push open the bathroom door.  There it is, as it is every morning these days.  The Heat.  Waiting for me.

I always hope it may have gone away during the night, but in February and March....it never does.  The sun isn't up yet, so it starts its attack rather gently.  It just lies there, breathing, in my bathroom, waiting to envelop me as soon as I enter.

I look longingly at the bathtub.  Really, I just want to fill it up with cold water and sit in it all day.  But I shower at night, since there's no way I could sleep with The Heat still attached to me.  And in the morning, it doesn't take long for its sticky fingers to wind their way around my arms, my legs, my neck.  After five minutes in the bathroom, I can feel the first drops of sweat for the day.

I don't bother with much make-up...it would run off in half an hour.  Unfortunately, it's not culturally appropriate to wear shorts.  But every day, I choose my clothes based on what looks coolest.  I could care less about how I actually look.  After all, in a few hours, The Heat will have stolen all my dignity.

My next stop for the morning is the kids' bedroom, to wake them up for school.  It's more like a wind tunnel than a bedroom.  Not only is the ceiling fan on at full-blast, but each child has a fan attached to the end of their bed.  A foghorn could go off in there, and you wouldn't be able to hear it over the noise of the fans.  Still, my children sleep mostly naked with no covers.

I enter the rest of the house, and this is where The Heat really begins its attack.  The tiled floors are warm under my bare feet, not having cooled off during the night.  I breathe as one would with a wet blanket on her head.  I turn on ceiling fans as I walk to the kitchen, pushing, shoving The Heat aside.  But it never really leaves, it just sort of swirls around.

Some mornings, dark clouds gather overhead.  We all stare at the sky, hopeful.  But the clouds mock us.  They push The Heat further down to earth, but give us no rain.  The air is full of so much moisture that it feels like something's got to burst.  Maybe tomorrow, we think.  Maybe the rain will come tomorrow.

If I happen to walk to the nearby market for some eggs, that's when The Heat brings out all its guns.  It attacks me with full force, filling my pores and my bones and my hair follicles.  My skirt sticks to my legs.  My legs stick together.  My arms stick to anything they touch.  I have to be careful I don't accidentally shoplift.

It's difficult to be affectionate with The Heat making its attack.  Don't touch me; you're sticky!  You're smelly!  You're sweaty!  Most of the time, The Heat wins.  It's a good thing we don't have leather couches.  We would sit down and never be able to get up again.

By afternoon, The Heat is conquering me.  My dog lays on the tiled floor, unmoving except for the pink tongue sticking out of her mouth.  I am tempted to join her. I walk slower; I move slower.  I gulp down liters of water.

If I dare turn on my oven, The Heat cackles with glee.  Now I've got you completely in my clutches, I can hear it saying.  The temperature in the kitchen rises by at least 10 degrees.  If I open my deep freezer, it takes every ounce of will power to not jump in head first.  By the time I'm done cooking, I look like I have run a marathon.  But I've only got chicken to show for it.

If the power goes off, we hold up the white flag in surrender.  The Heat has won.  There's nothing left to do but cry.

The sky is a brilliant blue, the Indian Ocean sparkles in the distance, the palm trees wave peacefully....and we don't care.  All we can think about is The Heat, surrounding us, inside of us, overtaking us.

Cold showers are the best thing in the world.  Here, take all my money.  Take my car.  Take my Firstborn.  But please, don't take away my shower.

And we wait for tomorrow, and hope for the rain to come.


Are you anxiously waiting for a change of seasons too, in your part of the world?

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