“194,194, 194…”
In the heat your brain slows down to the point where it struggles to remember numbers. Even important ones like the page of the book you stopped at to hobble across the lava floor to the loo. The temporary rural existence leaves you with enough civilisation to still refuse to turn down page corners.
“I’m not a savage.”
But the city body struggles. Knees like pie crusts crack open with each painful step. The sun got them, somehow, you can’t risk relaxing too much, the sun is always watching. You can’t relax too much, because… Well, you’re not sure.
There is guilt in indolence. The most difficult thing to do is to give yourself permission to do nothing. Can you do nothing?
The bees can’t. They dance round the lavender is a constant hum barely audible above the continuous rattle of the crickets. Why do they do that? With the sliver of wifi that makes it outside you Google “why crickets make noise”. Can you do nothing? The answer is as you expected.
“The chirping that that is most common is that of a male trying to attract female crickets.”
All day. Fair play lads. It’s hot out but you’re not giving up. The cacophony suggests a “spoilt for choice” vibe.
The Housemartins have a better idea. Their happy hours are morning and night. They don’t fly above the mad dogs of the day. They swoop into the pool for a drink as accurate as a Dambuster and almost as quick. They don’t need to stress. There are more than enough insects to go round. And most of them have bitten your leg. Even a bee took a break from the lavender to have a poke at your arm. Huge red blotches indicate sites of previous meals. They itch and burn. Drained by the heat, skin ablaze. You are not of this world. You were built for rain and wind. And left hand drive.
A week of relaxation has passed. Everything hurts and you can hardly walk. Can you do nothing? You sleep long and dream of salt to the lullaby of the air-conditioner. Colder, colder, you are carved from rain and wind.
You want to live here. You know you can’t live here. You crave the sun as much as you fear it. You contort yourself to fit into an ever-shrinking patch of shade. You could move but… Can you do nothing? Sleep comes easily, the insects are waiting.