Rose Calm. Rose Collection #1. (17.6.5)

The room swelters hot, sticky. The window open all the way and still the air chokes. The tiniest breeze coming through smells of spring flowers in turns of sickly and sweet, reminding me the blindingly beautiful green world outside is refreshing itself.

The light coming in makes the room feel translucent and shimmery. The bright greens, pale tans, and soothing bits of orange shadowed with dark corners. The roses on the shiny corner of my desk sit, quiet and patient. Seeming to send out a wave of grounding calm.

I’m cross legged on my dark purple bed spread, flat white pages of my homework staring up at me. My pen a dark slash of frustration where I’d thrown it down moments earlier. It’s been hard to focus since the heat wave began. The heat stifles, pressing down on the world.

Of course, it could be the heat. Or it could be a coincidence that the heat started at the exact time that I told my best friends.

I am definitely waiting, utterly unfocused. I feel the sweat on my skin in beads, but they didn’t string themselves down my back like they usually do. These beads stuck to me in viscous blobs, like glue or half melted hard candy.

My stomach flips over every few moments, and I sit stock still. There is movement outside my window. There’s even a fan whirring steadily in the corner, aimed to blow directly at my shoulder. But everything feels still and pensive, like me.

Just after my family had moved here, one of the first times I’d hung out with my new friends, we’d found this bunch of slightly battered roses in the dumpster of this old man’s house. The place was covered in overgrown plants and flowers like an enchanted garden, but these flowers had been thrown away. We’d kept them, because the idea of imperfect beauty had delighted us.

I stare at my bunch of the dried flowers, my breathing soft and barely noticeable. I feel the pressure of heat and memories weighing on me. Finding those flowers was the bonding experience that had opened the doors for all the friendship that had grown between us all since.

And now, the heat wave stifles everything, and all I feel is saturated with heat and sweat and waiting. Torn. Stay or go. Wait to see what happens next. Whether they would accept me again, as they had before. As they had the flowers with their imperfect beauty. Those plans had been made before the heat wave, before my confession. Timing and schedule had made everything so quiet, I wasn’t sure if I was still supposed to go.

My phone jangles beside me and I jump. Suddenly fan, breeze, and breath are brought back to sharp focus in my mind. I tentatively answer.

Their laughter is all jammed together, even through the tiny speaker it’s loud and happy and normal. Everyone talking at once, asking why I’m not there yet, to get a move on my butt.

A grin flashes across my face, and as I move to grab my backpack and shove on my nearby sandals, the sweat that had stuck to my back frees itself and streaks down. It’s odd that such a small brisk movement, the trail of cooler skin, can make me feel so much lighter. I’m laughing into my phone as I hop toward the door, sandals half donned and dangling.

This time, everything is going to be alright. Either way I would have survived, heat wave or not, but everything would great this time. I was accepted again.

Though, I am never going to come out before a heat wave again.

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