She Gave Me A Flower

It has been record-breaking HOT here in Wisconsin. I’m sure some of you are feeling the heat wave, too. We are blessed to have air-conditioning in the house, and I have it at work, too (Frank does not). But I have to admit, after a week of sucking in conditioned air, I’m ready to throw the windows open to drink in some freshness. I have been going out on the deck, suffering the heat to read a book, have a glass of wine with blueberries in it (1 cup frozen blueberries + 1 cup wine = heaven on a hot day). It’s almost like going into a sauna for a spell, then retreating back to the shock of a climate change.

I’m not a hot weather person. The fact that I’ve been outside at all beyond work and running errands is a testimony to how cooped up I’ve been feeling.

Day 5 (or so) today of the heat wave and I’m literally almost jumping out of my skin, craving movement, outdoors, change of scenery. I dropped the kids off at baseball practice this evening and it was a sweltering 99 degrees out. At 7pm. I was kind of envying them. They got to go play, get sweaty, dirty, have fun. What kept running in my head, though, was the timing of my shower and how I wasn’t going to take one tonight. I’m tired of falling asleep on a wet head.

I came home. Waited. Did laundry. Went back to pick them up. Saw dirt, sweat, enjoyment in exhaustion written all over them. Gunned it home. Cleaned up dog urine (someone hasn’t enjoyed fireworks over the last few days), grabbed a baggie and the leash and stomped out the door.

Just one round, half a walk, just around the block once. Maybe I won’t sweat so much.

Bowzer was thrilled, practically choking himself over his own incontrollable enthusiasm. We made it down the first block, which was relatively quiet. Not many are fool enough to swim through the thick, humid air. Half way down the first block there was a woman with two children, tending to the lawn. I complimented her on her work. I pressed on, remembering the state of my hair, tank top, tight pants, house shoes. I… hadn’t expected it to be light enough out for people to witness me in my state of horror. Darn.

Ahead I spotted a family walking, slowly. I was sure we wouldn’t meet. Relief. As I passed around the next block, just as I’m passing a familiar house, in pulls a car loaded with one of Frank’s acquaintances. One of those people who has a nice clean car, cute clean kids, and didn’t look like they’d been lifted up, tossed by a tornado, and ran through the dryer (like I did). I gave a cheery “hello” and said something about staying cool then picked up my pace. By the end of that block both Bowzer and I remembered it was hot and slowed down. He still wanted to walk, as did I. I was already sweaty and knew a shower awaited me, so I might as well do my full walk.

Down the next block I headed, straight towards the family of slow walkers. Great. My shadow showed my hair outline as freakishly non-human. Why didn’t I check myself in the mirror before I left? Why? I’d use the excuse of my dog to cross out into the street and avoid eye-contact. They grew closer, a small gang of children, one haphazardly pushing a (much larger) sibling in a… stroller? No, it was a wheelchair. The mother sauntered along as the little one in command of the chair skidded, bumped onto lawns, and nearly upended the kid in the chair (who was smiling and raising his arms in glee at the peril, naturally). Just as I was about to make my escape, two small girls and a boy ran up to Bowzer (aka Bowzer The Kid Magnet) and asked to pet him.

Is she nice? She’s cute! She’s a he? What’s his name? Bowzer? Cute! Oh he likes petting.

The mother smiled, tiredly, and urged them along. I was about to pick Bowzer up so the kid in the chair could see him, but they moved away too fast. The little girl hung back and held a flower to my dog.

For Bowzer. She paused to look up at me, extended a small stem and head of a flower, stolen from a yard along the way. No… for you! You have the flower.

Oh, but it would look so pretty in your hair.

No, in YOUR hair.

I took it. I smiled. Not just on my face, but inside, I just smiled. The crazy-haired, sweaty lady receives flower.

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