Summer Heat and Stillness:
A sultry grey summer sky sits low over the silent city. As the last days of Ramazan wane and the heat index daily hits above a hundred the city’s inhabitants seek solace indoors or on the cool shores of Lake Issyk Kul. Midday roads are bare, weekendtime parking deserted. I finally make a few intrepid voyages behind the wheel of our car, still skirting the main streets jogging back and forth across tree-lined residential blocks. Buses black out their windows with cloth. Sweat still trickles down my brow the moment I sit, my dress sticks to my lower back. Twice a day electricity cuts in the cit center, the AC shuttering to a stop as the gym or office is cast in cool darkness. Dust creeps through our windows from the construction site ‘cross the street, and the midday sun beats ’till we close the curtains and I relent to activating our AC. Our cats lay on the floor, one on the kitchen tiles with his head drooped over the base of the fan, the other curled in comfort on the cold glass bathroom scale in the shadowed corner behind the sink. Our balcony arboretum bakes and our two tomato plants curl their leaves at the touch of hot sun. Below the rubber-tiled playground in the center of our complex is barren. A few well-wrapped mothers venture out in the early dawn, the rest flood the square until then silent at dusk, as heat still hangs over the city. Children’s long-cooped shouts rise to our windows as we sink into sleep, sheets sticking to our skin, in our west-facing bedroom slowly discharging the day’s heat.