morning person

It’s 100 degrees right now, in Utah. But that’s okay, because it is a dry heat, right? It’s a heat that starts building up around 9:00 or 10:00, by noonish reaches its apex, and then, from noon until 4:00, it settles in, feels thick, implacable, unending. Those four hours are the longest and the heaviest of the day. When I’m home, I lie as motionless as possible in the coolest room of the house with all the blinds down, sprawled so that no skin is touching any other skin, breathing shallowly and letting the giant industrial fan blow hot air over me. The cat sprawls on the tiles in the hallway, which I have tried, but it is not good for my back.

I am looking forward to moving, this weekend, to my apartment with the central system that blows cool, forgiving air and lets me believe in life and the possibility of happiness again. But I am going to miss the best part of the day, when I am in my third-floor apartment. The early morning, around 7 a.m., before the sun has really started to work at it, and things have finally cooled off, overnight–it takes all night, for things to cool off. It is beautiful. It is cool and crisp, even a little chilly, and the slant of the light is luminous, and the crazy people who walk by at night are all still passed out in the back seats of their cars.

It is my favorite time of day–me, the girl who has never been a morning
person and never thought she would be–and it is over too soon. I
get up and flatten my hair with both hands and go make myself a cup of coffee, if
I am feeling ambitious, or pop open a can of Diet Pepsi. And then the
cat realizes it is go time, and he is dogging my steps as I unlock the
door. He shoots out between my ankles, as if I could change my mind at
any moment, and I settle down on the stoop and ease into consciousness
and thinking and being alive and in the day, when it is bright and cool
and perfectly quiet.

Fang paces around the yard, bats the dead grass, gnaws the weeds, and
then flops down in the dirt, where it is cool. We both watch the
street, and the shadows shifting as the sun comes up far faster than it
needs to, stupid sun, and then when I am done with my drink, I carry
them both back inside, cup and cat, and wait for the apartment to heat
back up. I’d wish that the morning coolness would have helpfully frozen
my core, to keep my cool through the day, making me some kind of fancy
swamp cooler, but then I wouldn’t look forward to the morning so much,
actually look forward to getting up out of bed. What we’re going to do
when we don’t have a yard anymore, I am not sure.

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