It is August. The month hot enough for businesses to pack up and do nothing for a week or two. August is also the time where the sea reaches a temperature where it stops being refreshing. The shore gets crowded, and, inevitably, dirty. So I’ve been taking showers. Lots of them. As cold as they get (which isn’t very cold). Sometimes four in a day, and not for hygienic purposes, so no soap. If I’m lucky enough, the water pipes round the building wouldn’t have become piping hot themselves, and some water which is still in the 20s soaks away the heat off my boiling body.
I’ll sometimes turn on the hot water tap. The geyser wouldn’t have been switched on, so it acts as a vacuum flask of sorts – keeping the water cold, in this case. Then the water starts approaching my body temperature, and I turn it off.
Sometimes, the water pressure is weak, and the cold water trickles uneasily over my hot skin. I want relief to be rapid. As the insecure droplets make their way round the Sahara that is my skin, I feel them defect to my body temperature as they rise to meet it. Cooling down is not a trenches and gas job; it has to be a blitz. Or perhaps a sustained blitz.
I barely need to dry myself. Actually, drying myself would rob me of the best part of the shower, and that is what happens after. I dry my feet in a towel, mop up the really wet parts, and with my skin still moist, I bask in the current of a fan or – if I’m lucky – an air conditioner, as the moisture on my skin amplifies the chill.
The consolation doesn’t last long. Very little, in fact. I try not to move too much and make sure I stay in the way of the fan. The fan, to my right, makes it hard to hear what anyone’s saying to me from outside my room, the door of which is also to my right.
The heat makes me hard of hearing.
The fan, the shower, they drown out all sound, and in quenching the furnace that is my body, I am alone.