It was hot.
So hot that when you looked down the street you saw the heat rising off of it and the tar looked shiny under the heat waves rising from it. It was so hot the wallpaper on the walls were sweating and she sat there and rocked while fanning herself with a fan she got from the Cleotis White's funeral last summer.
The ice in her glass shifted and clinked. She kept rocking and fanning. The television was on but she wasn't watching it. it was just on. She was just rocking and fanning. Cuz it was so hot. The backs of her legs were moist from sweating and stuck her to the chair. It was hot.
She looked at the corner of the wallpaper and noted it was coming apart. The corner was just dangling as if calling for someone to shake it's hand. She got up slowly with her eyes on the corner, walked over to it and reached up. She couldn't reach it so she pulled the milk crate she kept her "TV Guides" in over and stood on it. She pulled and the wallpaper came right off. She stood there with it in her hand, the weight of it bothering her for some reason. Agitating her that this heavy thickness was on her walls cloaking her further in heat.
She dropped it to the floor.
Grabbing hold of the next corner she pried it with her nail first and then pulled. This time it didn't come off in a whole strip and ended up being jagged instead. She kept prying and pulling. She stepped down from the milk crate and went to the kitchen to get a knife. Back up on her milk crate...she used the knife to create a section large enough for her to take hold of well and she continued on.
It was still hot and the exertion from her activity caused her to start sweating large tear sized sweat. She kept going, moving things away from the wall as she went. The brown plaid sofa, the rickety shelf with the ceramic pill boxes her Aunt had liked. Bless her soul.
She'd lived in this house since she was fourteen years old. She'd come to live with her Aunt after her mother died and when her Aunt died, she was all alone. She was 39 now. She'd be 40 in a month. This house was hers but not hers. It was a like a tomb, hot and swealtering, cloaking her in the past.
After surveying her work she walked to kitchen to get out a garbage bag and started putting the fallen wallpaper in it. She took the bag out in the afternoon heat and sat it by the road. The house looked a mess. She grabbed another garbage bag and scooped all of the stuff on shelves into it with her hands dragging long streaks into the dust. She drug out the rickety shelf, she drug out the upholstered chairs, she drug out the sofa, the claw foot oval coffee table, she stripped the windows of their heavy dark curtains, pulled the clear vinyl runner up off the carpet which left teeth marks in the carpet. One by one she took these things out by the road. She was sweating so badly her clothes were wringing wet. One by one she uprooted the contents of the room until it was empty.
It felt cooler standing there in the room free from clutter.
Light green. That's a cool color. That's the color these walls were screaming for. Some attention. Some feeling. This whole house was screaming to be cool again. To take off the heat cloaking mantle that it wore.
She grabbed her hammer using the back of it to carefully pry away the trim along the bottom of the walls. She knicked her hands, broke her nails and kept going. Ripping through all the coats of paint that stuck the trim to the wall in a bond thought to be forever. She took the trim to the road.
The carpet had to go too. The floors beneath screamed to be released, to be cool so she started pulling it up too. It proved to be too cumbersome to deal with as a whole so she grabbed the garden scissors as her Aunt used to call them and cut it up. When she got to the door leading to the hallway she thought about stopping but didn't. She kept going down the hall, removing old brass frames off the walls as she passed by them. Stacked the pictures on the floor in one of the rooms off the hall and kept going.
She drug the carpet out to the road.
It was eleven o'clock at night and still so hot it was thick. The mosquito's were busily buzzing at the light outside the door. She was ripe with smell as the sweat on her body had dried over and over again. When she scratched her mosquito bites under her fingernails were black. Her whole body was sore but even though the temperature hadn't dipped by much, she felt cooler. The house felt cooler. It was lighter. The pile out by the road included mostly all of the furniture from the house. She was tired. But she was cooler. She was lighter.
After she'd taken her shower she lay on the mattresses she'd kept and willed herself to sleep. Tomorrow she'd pull out the car and go to the bank and get some money. No worries there...she had lots of it. It was heavy too. Cloaked in death. When her mother died, she got money. When her Grandmother died, she got money. When her Aunt died, she got money. It was heavy. She was going to make it lighter.
It was time. She'd be 40 in a month.
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