Monday, January 24, 2011

Heat and Humidity

(from a free write on heat and humidity)
Hot.  Steaming hot.  Sweat trickling down the middle of newly forming breasts.  Awkwardness of a pubescent girl sweltering in a Midwest June.  Air conditioning but a gleam in someone's eye not yet available to the mediocre masses.  Open windows with lagging stillness.  Crisp dried grass, cracked soil, parched landscape, empty lonely life of long summer days without the distracting structure of school.  Momentary relief when mom says, okay, you can turn on the hose and sop each other wet.  A different wet than sticky humidity and clinging shirts that can no longer be removed because of budding breasts and the shame I feel to have them because I'm no longer daddy's little girl.  I never was, really, only believed I was because mom told me I was.  There was never any confirmation or even indication from that man.  There was nothing from dad.  I was no one's little girl, left alone in the silence.  Responses limited, thick with humidity, dripping with the struggle to tolerate me.  My existence.  The blank looks aimed the other way.  My gaze seeking theirs only to be underlooked.  I was obscure without substance because I couldn't get their attention long enough to make me real.  Allow me to form into the outlines they gave me with my genes.  Their genes.  Color in the subtle details to give beauty, life and meaning to the dull space I occupied for so long.  By myself.  In the heat and humidity with a family who had nothing to give except on that July day when I could no longer stand the heat and I was allowed to shower myself in cool, clear water, once the hose drained the standing tepid water into the parched ground, too rapid to be absorbed, sliding off the rough surface until I stepped in it and it became mud and I had to be careful not to stain my shorts so it would not be forbidden.  This water.  This cool water.  Already a limited resource because everything mom saw was through the crosshairs of dollar signs and her constant complaint of having to be the responsible one wore away any discipline I might have structured around spending money.  And now I am flipping her off every time I reach for plastic and feel the cool sense of satisfaction from  showering myself with constant gifts that I no longer have room for and I forget that I have.  And then I get my bills and I sweat in the heat and humidity of what I owe.  And I am afraid to move and be seen be recognized with sweat beading down my shirt because somehow I am a disgrace otherwise they would have looked at me, acknowledged me, answered me.  Soothed me from the heat that burns me as crimson creeps into my face anytime I expose pieces of me, the attention now unbearable,  now breaking out of the tomb of my cocoon.  Breaking free.  It's messy pieces stick to me because I am damp from the heat and humidity.

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