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Friday, April 5, 2013

What do you mean hot? School weather, I say.

I read somewhere that people still like to talk about the weather. And it reminded me that in Australia now, people are probably dusting up the woollens. How funny, since up here the mere sight of a blanket would give me the headaches now. Outside my window everything is tinted a harsh, smouldering yellow. The verandah is flooded with slanting blocks of sunlight, cut up into inclined bricks by the shadows of the brick-pattern grill, standing against the afternoon sun which has travelled west far enough to be shining directly on my house from between the trees that block it out for the rest of the day -- and now it shines on the little tulsi plants the SPICE Club gave me as a farewell gift. As the day rolls, it will once again disappear behind the last tree, and then reappear beyond the trees in a new red avatar. What a wonderful thing it is that light comes in so many wavelengths -- it allows the sun to dress up differently for every part of the day.
It is still too early in summer for the room to be hot this late in the afternoon, and I have an old, rather noisy ceiling fan drolly breezing up the air around me with its tired revolutions: so I can barely feel any heat inside the house except for the humble warmth of the laptop under my palms. I only see the blaze of the sun outside and feel the heat in my imagination. I sweat up in my thoughts whenever I hear a vehicle whiz by, because I know how it is to be outdoors under the summer afternoon sky: I momentarily remember the feeling of my sweat-drenched clothes sticking to me and my sweaty skin protesting with an angry tingling whenever an escaped strand of hair sticks to it. And funnily, I find that I miss all of that: I miss the feeling of the sun burning up my head as I walk to the bus from the school gates. Back in the day, 4th or 5th April were the days CCHS usually reopened for a new year, usually with early-morning classes for the summer; and for the past few years, this one included, classes are already in full swing by now, and I envy those kids for being able to do all the summery things in school that I can't. I will miss Carmel in particular, but I don't mind a new school: I just want back that sweaty, bright yellow walk over sun-scorched sand from the school gate to the bus, and then, when I alight near home, the beautifully contrasting reprieve of shady trees and a fan-cooled room. I want back the neat demarcations on my arms and neck between tanned and untanned skin, coinciding with the borders of my uniform. I want back the five minutes after outdoor PE when fluids are not allowed, which seem to go on forever, and the enhanced taste that water seems to have at their end.
It is nice to know, therefore, that I'll get those summer school days back again, albeit just two more times. The kids in school now moaning about the heat have no idea how bad they'll miss it after the Boards.

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