There is hot like August and there is hot like September. Hot like August is both rough and smooth, weighed down and suffocating. Hot like September is surprising and blinding, a coup on the system; it is cold air, tantalizing in the morning, only to be replaced by hot air in the afternoon.
Hot like August is an excuse. It is a reason to say no. It is sweat dripping on your arms, your legs, down your back as you press up against strangers on the train, wishing you could be in a dark room with nothing touching you. It is hair up and eyes closed against the sun.
Hot like September is everything all at once. It is shivers in the shade and moans in the sunlight. It’s red faces that are just pink enough. It’s one new freckle in the morning. It’s rolling up the sleeves of your sweater and the cuffs of your jeans and bare feet in the dewy grass as the sun sinks across the river and all you can think of are blankets and quiet.
Hot like August is hard. It is upside down. It is tiresome and sometimes lonely. It is misery in its selfishness, in the way it takes hold of every sense, in its disregard. One cannot breathe in August. Air does not flow, we just simply wade through it. It’s the desire to strip and the willingness to not care who sees. Hot like August is a kind of freedom.
Hot like September is holding hands. It’s casual and fleeting. It wanders from neighborhood to neighborhood, from sidewalk to sidewalk. It shows its ugly face when it feels like it and retreats into the shadows at it pleases. It walks around at night sometimes, reminding us in the odd hours that it still has it’s hold on us, that it can still call on us whenever it wants. Hot like September is power and prose.
August shakes hands with September every year. They pull and push at each other, haggling for time and space and air. They find it hard to share. There is only much time and so much to do. Some years each month demands more time and the ability to seep into areas they should never be. And some years they are allowed to do it, because exhaustion does not allow arguments to be well made. Sometimes it is fine to give in, to give up.
Hot like August is hard but simple. It is lying on the grass with the clouds above, in billowing poofs, avoiding the sun so that they may be clouds a little while longer. Hot like September is complicated and raw and deep. It is hot pavement that morphs into concrete that morphs into earth, each cooler than the next.
I am hot like August. I am hot like September.