It was another day inside. Just out the door there were kids playing in the fire hydrants. Adults were jealous of the reckless abandon, and that they were cooling off.
96 in the shade. My air conditioner was struggling to keep my place below 80. It was here before I moved in, and I’ve been in this place for two years at least.
That machine has had it pretty lax. This heat wave may be the thing to kill it. It was day four of these unbearable temperatures.
Sweat trickled out of my scalp and down my cheek. I tried to concentrate on the TV in front of me, but the air around was constantly reminding me. I itched, and when I shifted to get more comfortable the sweat clung to my basketball shorts.
The sweat pooled on top of my belly. So every time I went to get a refreshing beer, warm liquid would roll down into my shorts. It was disgusting.
I kept the blinds shut. I sealed myself away in a cave. After work I went straight home and attempted to find solace.
A feeling had made its home behind my eyes. I was restless.
The TV was not enough. No reality show could combat the oppressive heat.
With a groan, a sputter, and finally, silence, the air conditioner died. It was as if I had ordered its death.
I laughed and then rose from my seat on my derelict couch. Sweat rolled off my belly.
I screamed like a cartoon, laughing as I went. I stretched, but cabin fever pushed me out the door before I finished. I emerged from my first floor apartment in mid-stretch.
The wall of moisture and heat collided with my senses.
I yelped and screamed again. Some of the kids laughed at me, and witnessed them in the street, the cool water spraying about.
Why had I not done this before? What was keeping me? It fit the same category as trick-or-treating. I had logged it as “You’re too old”. I scoffed at the thought.
I pointed at the hydrant with wide eyes and then made my way to the street.
The children danced about, giggling and yelping. I crouched, eager to get a full blast of cold water.
One of the kids had a can with the bottom cut out. He was behind the hydrant, already soaked, directing the flow of the water.
We made eye contact. I made an exaggerated gesture that could only mean, “Hit me”. He smiled.
The water hit my chest. Cold, cold, water sprayed against my thighs, knees, and arms. My muscles tensed, the difference in temperature felt like a hundred degrees. It was glorious.
Despite my body saying no, I pushed my head into the stream. My scalp felt like it had been on fire, and was being snuffed out in the best way.
Why had I not done this before? Because I was an adult? What a load of shit.