First day of summer

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The heat surprised us early in the morning, and after noon it was pressing down. The first day of summer, I called it. Roddy said it was a phantom. We closed the curtains and sat around without clothes. My back was slick with sweat, and the backs of my knees. Roddy touched me, but he made a face and wiped his hand on the couch. We argued about it. I grabbed a towel and went out the back. He stayed inside.

He sent me an SMS. Hi Martin, it began. My Sunday name. But the message was full of typos and nonsense. He knew it’d make me laugh. I wrote one back, cordial, adding a smile. It went on like that, and things were repaired. I stayed outside though. It was easier than talking.

I heard Pino rustling round in his backyard, tapping his dodgy thermometer. He peered over the fence. 29 degrees, he said eventually, a fag bobbing at his lips. Beautiful, I said. Yes, beautiful, he said. He stared. But maybe you’re burning. Here, he said, indicating the shade below the fence. I moved. That’s better, he said.

When it got dark it cooled but not by much. The air filled with tiny ashy insects. I dozed to the tickle of papery wings at my eyelids and inside my ear. When I woke it was balmy, the insects were gone. The air was perfumed with night scented flowers and cigarette smoke. I turned on the tap and the hose kicked and spat. I aimed the spray on myself, drenching myself. The back door opened, and Roddy was standing like a naked ghost. What the fuck, he said. You’ll wake the neighbours. He came over, turned off the hose, but he was smiling. Come inside now, he said. I’m wet, I said. It’s late, come inside, he said.

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