There was a blistering heat in the sweltering air that seemed as if it would never get any cooler.
On days like these the skies would quickly cloud and storm, the feeling of warm droplets hitting your face and the smell of the ever close sea would fill the air. But today was not that day. It was scorching, what felt like the hottest day on the island made my skin melt and sink like wax on a burning candle. I had always preferred the cold over the heat, at least with the cold when you scratched your skin to try to release the ice inside, your skin didn't peel like wet dirt and dead skin didn't cling to your fingernails.
I had always loved the cold, and now more than ever I had wished that I had never moved here two years ago. The heat was so high, I felt as though I were dying.
Why live where there are no winters if I crave the cold?
An unusual question with a not unusual answer. I couldn't say no. I was a child and when my mother had asked me where I wanted the go, I could only think of jeering and mocking of my peers. The thought of being seen as a liar after bragging about moving for months filled me with shame.
But after experiencing a life that I had never lived I can only think of what if. What if I had stayed in America to keep the company of my dying father? I've always had this thought of regret for not staying with him in his final days. Did he ever feel lonely in that house? Packing as though he would never see his possession again? Days dedicated to his mind and the thoughts of the disease that ate away at his soul.
My skin was a crisp golden and as I scratched my arms I felt the moistness of sweat and the dirt. Dust and dead skin accumulating into my short fingernails. After minutes of standing still in the horror of the sun, I was relieved because of the melanin in my skin that protected me from sunburns.
I thought about going into my bag and fetching some water, but after a moment I felt that ever slow horror creeping into my mind. 'Was I stupid again?' I thought, 'Did I forget to pack extra water?'
I couldn't remember and I didn't want to check my bag to see if I was or not because of the thought of me forgetting, yet again, almost brought tears to my eyes. It was such a habitable movement that I didn't have to think about storing water away in the freezer late at night, so that in the afternoon when the heat really starters to sink in I have a cool drink of water to enjoy.
'Should I go to the canteen and beg for some ice?' Was a thought that popped up in my mind. They usually didn't have enough ice to share, but somedays they'd take pity on us and offer us if we had a cup to fill it with or a bag.
I wasn't thirsty enough to embarrass myself, I thought, the dryness of my mouth was something that I could easily forget if I just ignore it, I reassured.
But if I could pour a bit of water onto my skin to simulate sweat it would make me feel a whole lot better than scratching. The thought of reaching into my bag was tempting. I decided against it. I didn't want to find myself annoyed when I found out that I didn't have any water left.
To distract myself I tore my eyes away from the school gate and towards a more familiar sight. Motoni. Motoni with his light ebony skin and sharp wit was sitting in one of the only benches covered in shade. He was sitting beside two other girls and while I stood under the hot sun I couldn't help but feel a ping of jealously.
It was smart of them to drag a bench to the school parking lot. The lunch area was always a crowded open space and at this time of the day, I always held the fear of drowning in the smell of sweat. Somehow missing the honking of the bus under the sound of teenagers chatting.
Everyone knows that you can't let Uncle Winston wait or he'll start cussing out all of the children. Never mind that he wasn't actually anyone's Uncle.
My legs and arms were sore. Carrying my huge black school bag wasn't very easy on my bones nor my back. Always filled with school books, and sometimes the occasional art book if it's Thursday.
'Should I get the babies ready?' I thought as I checked my black watch. It was a stable to my personality, wearing it was apart of me. My need to know what time it was always overpowering others. 'It's 4 o'clock already, and we all got out at 2.' Not to mention the fact that we had to wait an half-hour for Uncle Winston to load the bus because 'Jamaican pickney like to make people wait.'
"-Did you hear about-"
If I were a dog my ears would be prickling up. I turned my head so fast you could almost hear the cracking of joints. For a brief moment, I enjoyed what little breeze blew. Half-tempted to attempt it again, but the thought of looking like a clown made me think. I wouldn't want to look like Maddie, who got her nickname for being absolutely Mad.
It was the two girls who sat next to Motoni.
I looked towards them in poorly disguised curiosity, mixed with envy. They were the school gossips and had more friends than I could count on my fingers. Every once and awhile I would hear something interesting, the thought of including myself into their conversations always made me feel. . . excluded. They would realize that I was within hearing distance and clam up, refusing to tell.
Haley and Mo'Nesha were my classmates, but we weren't friends. I thought we were ok, but it was clear that they didn't think so. I didn't usually bother them, trying to spend more time with Tywayne or Mackayla. Hell, even Nastassia was fine. We had a lot in common and could get on pretty well. . . If you ignore the fact that we hated each other.
I never really interacted much with Haley or Mo'Nesha unless I got bored and they somehow decided that I could be included in some form of human socialization and welcomed me into their group.
"What are you two whispering about?" I asked with a tired grin. I felt the wetness underneath my eyes and knew that my bags were damp with sweat. "Not something about me?" I ask, stepping closer. I actively stopped myself from lightly tracing my nails against my skin. 'Don't act weird in front of people'.
Mo'Nesha only stared at me in total seriousness. An expression not usually seen sketched into her caramel skin. "This is best friend talk." I try to keep myself from winching as she added almost as an afterthought, "Besides I don't want to tell you because you might spread it around."
I felt myself take offense. I was known as the therapist of my friend group, I never spread gossip. It hurt to think about this, as my friends had become meaner these days, excluding me from events just because they thought that I wouldn't be able to relate seeing as I didn't live in the same country as them anymore.
Instead of showing my indignation, I placed my hand up to my chest in a semi-dramatic manner, "Ah, so you don't consider me to be your best friend, I see how it is." I laugh through the poke of hurt as they didn't respond. Instead, watching me as I walked away, only to continue the conversation again when I was a clear feet away.
'Whatever' I defended, 'I don't usually make a habit of poking around other people's business unless I found out that something morally wrong was going on.'
Even though I was the class monitor I probably should have expected this level of animosity. I was technically the 'deputy' or the assistant, but the actual monitor, Spice, didn't actually do her duty so I was left playing the bad cop and yelling at everyone.
I never felt connected with my classmates and this came from the fact that being 13 and 14, and 15 and 16 are two different ages with different maturity levels and attitudes.
They were one or two years younger than me. I shouldn't be seeking their attention, but that made it sting all the more when I found out that they didn't accept me.
As I was walking away I found myself drifting towards the prep school. My eyes found themselves on the badly painted mural of Jesus. Underneath what I dubbed 'The sitting tree' The only other tree in the school parking lot that kids were allowed to climb and find extra shade.
There was a slight shimmering that I've never noticed before. Something weird, a disturbance in the air. It was hazy, like roads on a highway, on a humid day. A grey spotted white tom pawed closer towards it. A cat that I often see roaming the grounds of the school.
I had always assumed that it was owned by the school or was a stray that was allowed to linger, but that idea had felt like a stretch when I remembered the terror that was the school founder, Mrs. Bennett.
I had always been an animal lover so it struck me how beautiful the tom looked prowling about. I didn't want to startle and disturb it making it run off someplace so I stood as till as I could and only observed it. It was at that moment when the cat walked into the shimmer, only to disappear. It was like watching the cat walk behind a corner or a door.
But this wasn't a door or a corner.
I felt paralyzed, this was shimmering air. Maybe I was seeing things, the lack of hydration made my brain make things up, like in deserts or something. When the tip of its tail had evaporated I ran after it.
This was shimmering air? "Bumbaclot?" I questioned, the unfamiliar word fell off my lips in an unflattering way. "Where the hell-?" I trailed off.
I considered the thought of running to Haley and her 'gang' telling her of this impossible event but I remember her little snub towards me and the feeling as though If I ignored this event, it would never occur again.
As I got nearer towards the tree I took a closer look at this mysterious fading of the light. It was white in color, but only if you looked very closely. From the outside perspective, it looked like a normal space of air.
There was something so strange and mystical that I could only think of how someone could miss the oddity. And how I was lucky enough to experience it. 'What if I discovered something important, something new? What if I became a famous scientist?'
I reached into my pocket for my phone. Ignoring the possibility that someone could see me with my android at school, a sure-fire way to get into trouble. As I fumbled to turn the camera on I leaned closer towards the disturbance.
Not close enough to touch, but enough to peer inside. There was nothing, a deep blackness, and an image of what space would have looked like without any stars to light the way. And then was the intense pulling sensation.
I was being sucked in, and as if someone had pushed me, I fell forwards into the void.