South Hills, 2:50 PM, 91 Degrees
Siting in the alley a block up from Eden and watching an old man on his smoke break from the restaurant on the corner. His beard is gray. His apron is a dirty white. His eyes dart between the sweltering asphalt and his phone. This part of town reminds me of Lancaster or Southern York County, sometimes I start to feel claustrophobic when I’m out here. I’m sitting on the cooking pavement trying to find shade and drinking the kombucha the woman who owns Eden comped me. White clouds, without rain pass overhead giving the street a brief break from the heat, and I could almost miss the cool gray falls of the Pacific Northwest. This time last year I was settling into a misty fall and winter living with one of my favorite humans on the planet, and I feel the ache of that absence right now. I’ll make sure to text them when I’m off work later.
Instead of missing anything more or picking up my phone, I find myself remembering the pregnant gray storm clouds of a South Florida late summer day. I remember the way they’d gather in the late afternoon, all gray and heavy and ominous right before the sky opened up and the rain came down in blinding sheets so thick you could barely see a few feet ahead of you. The world would cool down for a few blissful hours, and sometimes the streets would flood. The kids would all come out to run around in the water once the lightning stopped. Now I think about those clouds and the feeling of dread that comes with 90-degree fall days in October in the Northeast and I think about acid rain and rising seas and how long before she sinks.
Nothing to do for today, but jump back on my bike and finish my rounds. The man across the alley just finished his cigarette. Looks like we’re going back to our respective grinds at the same time. I hope he’s done with work soon too.