Summer, she has arrived. Every day, the temperatures reach at least forty, and they never fall below thirty. The mister finally said jhallas to the walk to the school and youngest lad joined the chorus.
We live, unusually for life in Abu Dhabi, in a small and convenient triangle which runs from our house to the school and on to the mister’s work (and then, to complete the triangle at the end of his day, home again) so that on the days when he is in Abu Dhabi, the mister and the lads leave home at 7.20, walk to school and the mister walks on to work. No more. By seven thirty, the sun is riz and the temperature too.
So now, I must leave home at 7.30 instead of 8.30, dropping them off along the way and arriving at work early as I always used to do back when I was full time. It is an hour’s writing time lost. Incredibly for me, I have developed an early morning writing routine, rising before the mister though barely before eldest child who is up every morning at five desperate to finish Matilda or Charlie Bone or whatever it was he did not want to put down the night before. I used to write for two hours, and now I write for one.
Where was I?
Oh, the summer. I don’t like it. I might have developed an early morning routine, but I haven’t changed so much that I now enjoy the summer. A person couldn’t change that much.
The humidity is rising too. I didn’t know it was going to be humid, not like this. ‘It’s the humidity that kills you,’ people told me, but they told me that when we lived in Auckland too, and, you know, not so much. How could it be humid here? I wondered. It’s a desert. We have sandstorms. Whether it makes sense to me or not, humidity exists.
I’ll be gone before the humidity really kicks in. Before the temperatures reach fifty. I’ve had my tickets booked for weeks and so has nearly everyone I know. Well, the women anyway. It can be a puzzle, working out where to go, where to spend three months, because where do I go that doesn’t deplete my savings and the goodwill of my friends. Where do I go that we don’t invade, me with my need for space and my lads with their need for noise. Where do I go that doesn’t remind me that I sort of don’t have anywhere?
It gets stressful and emotional and I think of all the words that won’t get written while I try to tend to two noisy lads, and I get mad at the mister all over again, then sorry because it isn’t his fault, and all around the heat continues to rise and I spend more and more time inside, and the hum of the airconditioner never leaves my brain and the dry throat and the chesty cough are back again and I check the date on the tickets one more time. Six more weeks. Nearly five.
And then, driving to school to collect the lads I look at these men at the top of half-built buildings, and digging up footpaths and re-laying roads, and all of this fretting I do. It’s more of a luxury than my ticket home.