“It is so damn hot out here.”
Sam looked up suddenly, her eyes struggling to adjust to the blazing sunshine that was beating down on the patio where she and Jason were sitting.
“That’s true,” she responded, feeling herself grow peevish at Jason, who once gain was engaging in his favorite mantra. “But that’s July isn’t it? Always has been, and probably always will be.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” he groaned, sweat pouring down his round, ruddy face. “But I feel like it didn’t used to be this hot.”
Hearing these words, Sam felt herself drifting back into the past, recalling forgotten faces and long-abandoned places. She had never had much consistency in her adult life – not that this had been by choice. Alexander had loomed over everything, hunting her and her child down from coast to coast. Ironically, Jason, a man who she didn’t particularly love or even really respect, was probably the most solid and foundational piece of her existence, a bedrock that, however feeble in character, had remained static amidst the tempest that perpetually threatened to wash over her.
Sitting across from him now, however, she felt a strange sense of affection and warmth, despite the drops of sweat that were rolling down his arched brow and hanging from his bulbous nose. These rivers of perspiration gave him the disconcerting look of someone who was actually melting – more like a wax sculpture than a human being. But then Sam realized that that was how she had always treated him. Despite knowing him for 20 years, she had never been fully honest with Jason, never engaged with him in an authentic or truly human fashion. And now, as she fingered the cold trigger of the pistol in her purse, an already illusory connection was at the precipice of disintegrating fully – never to be reassembled again.
“Actually, you’re right. I don’t think it used to be this hot. That’s why I think we should go. I need a change.”
“What? But we just got here!”
“I know. Thanks so much for meeting me, and, I’m sorry to cut it short. I’m sorry for a lot of things.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It doesn’t matter. Thanks again.”
“But I’ll see you again soon?”
“I hope so; I’ll let you know.”
She got to her feet and picked up her bag, feeling the heavy weight of the gun at the bottom. She turned to go but then paused, turned back around and hugged Jason to her. It felt good, despite the dampness of his shoulders and back. She thought about her impending meeting with Alexander. It sent a cold shiver through her body, prompting her to hug Jason even harder.
“It’s so damn hot out here; I hope the weather turns soon,” he said dully.