Heat Wave​

Cheryl Diane Kidder

​​​“Well, what about tomorrow after lunch,” she suggested, squinting up at him even with her sunglasses on. He was tall and she liked that.


He was looking somewhere beyond her, over her left shoulder though his body was turned toward her close enough, she could tell he was looking at the three women who had just walked by them, she could still see their silhouettes in his glasses.


“I’ve got the kids then, it’s no good.”


He hadn’t bothered to sound very disappointed. When you were trying to make a date to fuck wouldn’t a little enthusiasm, even fake enthusiasm go a long way?


“Maybe we should just forget it,” she threw out to him to see if he’d take the bait. She could feel the sun bleeding through the linen of her short dress. It wouldn’t be long before the dark circles started in. She’d have to get this wrapped up or try to move him over into the shade. She was very well aware how many of her charms were lost when it got too hot outside.


He lowered his glasses. “I don’t want to forget it. It’s just a timing issue right now.” He pushed his glasses back on his nose. Was he looking at her now? She wasn’t entirely sure.


“Well, since you seem to be the one with the difficult schedule maybe you should name a time and I’ll see what I can do.” She shifted her hips and scrunched her toes around in her sandals. She could feel the tops of her feet starting to burn.


“Well, let me think.” He ran his hand through his hair and kept it there at the back of his head as he looked down at the sidewalk. His Dockers and cotton shirt seem to breathe on their own and create little convection currents up and around his body so that not one bead of sweat broke out. She leaned a little closer to him, incredulous. She was feeling it trickle down her back now and yes, she confirmed it and took a step away again. He wasn’t sweating at all.


“How about next Tuesday, late. She’s usually working the Tuesday night shift. I should be able to get away then.”


“A week from now?” She didn’t care her tone of voice gave her away. Last week he’d put their meeting off until today after lunch and once he’d arrived he’d told her he had to get right back to work.


“Can you make it?” he asked her, placing a hand on her elbow, ever so slightly moving them back in the direction of the parking lot.


“I should be able to,” she got her voice back in control. “I’d just hoped it wouldn’t be another full week.”


“You’ll be OK, trust me.” Then he let go of her elbow and started walking toward his car. She stepped along beside him, taking longer strides to keep up. Her dress kept sticking and unsticking around her thighs, waist and shoulders. She tried to shrug it off.


“Oh, I’ll be fine.” She hadn’t quite had enough time to get mad, to think of anything other than not appearing sweaty, not appearing unattractive or unfuckable, but as he took that extra long stride and made it to his car, beeped it open and slid into the driver’s seat without a wave, a “bye” or even a nod, she realized she should be angry with him, she should at least yell or throw her purse or say something to communicate the indignity of being put off, for being passed over for another week with his wife, his work and who knows what else. Instead, as he laid one arm across the backseat of his Toyota Camry and proceeded to back all the way out to the street without once looking back at her, she raised a hand to wave goodbye, then pulled her arm in quick to hide the underarm stains. The sun, directly overhead, beat down on the tops of her shoulders, her elbows and wrists, hit the back of her legs, her heels and toes. She’d wake up tomorrow morning badly burned.

About The Writer

Split Lip Magazine

​​Cheryl Diane Kidder has a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her work, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, has appeared or is forthcoming in: CutThroat Magazine, Weber--The Contemporary West, Pembroke Magazine, Tinge Magazine, Brevity Magazine, Brain,Child, Identity Theory, In Posse Review, and elsewhere. For a full listing see: Truewest -