Elijah Goldsworthy hates the summertime. While most teenagers his age relish in the weeks of unabashed freedom, he finds the heat unbearable. It reminds him too much of the past.
Today is certainly no exception. The mercury had already risen to a blistering 36Celsius, turning the GTA into a veritable melting pot. Of course, Cece would declare that today be the day the lawn finally be tended to.
As Eli begrudgingly pushes the mower across the yard he can feel sweat pool around his eyelids. Momentarily blinded, he lifts the hem of his favourite t-shirt and swipes it across his face. He lets the mower putter to a stop, and takes survey of the neighbourhood.
A normally busy street appears placated by the sun. A group of children take turns drinking from a gardening hose, too exhausted to participate in any mischief. The old woman across the street is fanning herself with today's newspaper, her porch swing creaking as it sways back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.
He lets his eyes wander to a home further down the block. On the front steps are two young girls. Next to them sits a battery-powered radio, a soft melody carrying through the air. One of the girls is humming softly to the tune while she squeezes sunscreen into her palm, rubbing the contents across her shoulders.
The other is holding a book in one hand, tapping her foot against the peeling white paint of the stoop. Her other hand twirls absentmindedly through a wisp of hair that has escaped her ponytail. She seems barely conscious of the world around her, surely unaware of the dark-haired boy who is studying her with a watchful eye.
Eli is so consumed in his thoughts of her, he doesn't hear a set of feet approach him from behind.
"You know, what you're doing is considered illegal in most provinces."
Surprised, Eli jumps backward into a hard body. "Huh?"
"Stalking, boy, stalking." Bullfrog chuckles at his son's flustered behaviour and takes a long drag from his bottle. "Your mother's gonna kill us both if the lawn isn't mowed when she gets home."
"This is slave labour, you know. Making me mow the lawn in this weather. I could have both of you reported for child abuse." Eli retorts, ignoring his father's previous observations stealthily.
"I'll get the phonebook so you can call child protective services." Bullfrog chortles and retreats back into the safety of his air-conditioned office. "Get mowing kid."
When Eli looks back to the yellow house down the street he discovers that both girls have disappeared. The small radio remains, but the music can't be heard as he restarts the mower and shoves it forward.
"What time did you say your mom would be home?" Alli is standing on the tips of her toes, balancing against the freezer, her head resting inside next to the frozen peas. The heat has caused her normally coiffed hair to fray and remnants of her mascara are beginning to dribble down her cheeks.
"She didn't." Behind her, Clare is perching on the kitchen counter, sipping a glass of water, and gazing out onto the abandoned street.
"Ugh. I wish we could go to the pool. Or the beach. Or the North Pole."
Clare giggles at her best friend. "This weather really is horrible in the city." She peeks through the curtains, glancing down the street.
"Clare, stop staring. Why don't you go offer him a cold beverage or something?" There is a glimmer in Alli's eyes and laughter in her voice, but Clare is not amused.
"He's just so odd. I mean, look what he's wearing." She feels a blush rise to her cheeks as she observes the boy mowing the lawn. Clad in tight black jeans and a concert t-shirt, he looks grim, almost dangerous.
"Well, he seems to be into you. And look at him. All that sweat and dirt. Hot." Clare watches her friend fan herself and rolls her eyes dramatically.
"Can we talk about anything else?"
Alli opens her mouth to reply but before she can speak the girls hear the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. Their heads turn simultaneously when someone knocks on the front door.
Clare slides off of the counter and slumps toward the door. When she pulls it open a tall boy is leaning against the frame looking annoyed. "Alli, you know you were supposed to be home, like, an hour ago?" Without another word the boy turns abruptly and walks back to the parked minivan.
"Oh hi Sav, nice to see you. Having a good day?" There is sarcasm in Clare's tone as she looks to her friend. "Someone isn't in a very good mood today."
Alli saunters toward Clare wordlessly, leaving a chaste kiss on her friend's cheek as she walks through the door.
"Brothers. Love 'em or hate 'em."
Clare watches as her friend climbs in the passenger side door and the van speeds away; the faint sound of the siblings bickering can be heard.
As the Bhandaris disappear from sight, her eye catches the boy again. He is pushing the mower determinately, his bangs drenched in sweat and plastered against his forehead. Ever since his family moved in a few weeks ago, the boy has been a bit of an enigma.
But she does know his name. When his friendly mother stopped by her house to introduce herself, she addressed him as Eli, the only child of Cece and Bullfrog Goldsworthy.
Clare has noticed that he's a night owl, preferring to hide in his house during the daytime hours. But she sees him emerge at night, climbing into his car, which blares some unknown punk music. And while she watches him drive away from the neighbourhood every night like clockwork, she finds herself wondering where he's going.
Before she can continue speculating, her mother's car ambles down the street. She trudges down the steps to meet her and help with the groceries, all the while her eyes still fixated on Eli's sharp movements.
"How was your afternoon sweetheart? Did you and Alli have fun?"
Her mother stares at her eagerly and hands her a brown paper bag that is filled to the brim. Giving one last glance back to the Goldsworthy house, Clare heaves the bag onto her chest and releases an impatient groan.
"Pretty uneventful mom."
"And then she has the nerve to ask if she can cut in front of me!" Cece's voice increases in volume as she nears the end of her story. The three Goldsworthys are sitting on their back deck, enjoying a late dinner. The heat has relented only slightly, preventing the mosquitos from overtaking the meal.
Bullfrog watches his wife intently, completely engrossed in the tale that is being told. Eli's parents are loosely holding hands and grinning at each other. And while most kids would be annoyed by this beahviour, he finds himself enamored by their affection for each other. He wonders if he'll ever have something like that, something solid and honest.
"But, I'm not going to let that awful woman ruin any more of our meal!" She glances over to her son who is pushing his vegetables around his plate with his fork. "How was your day baby boy?"
Eli looks up from his plate to meet his mother's eyes. The same vibrant green mirrored back at him, shining in the twilight. "Oh you mean other than the attempted manslaughter?"
Bullfrog laughs heartily and slaps a hand against his son's back, "You have to earn your keep around here somehow!"
Eli grins and sighs. "I do, do I?"
He glances around the table and considers how his parents kept him from drowning inside himself over the past year. They were his lifelines to the outside world when everything else seemed too difficult to endure. He couldn't imagine being without them.
"Aren't you going to tell your mom about your little girlfriend?" Bullfrog's booming voice startles him. Before a second can pass Eli scoffs and rolls his eyes.
"Don't you think 17 is a bit too old for girlfriend jokes?" Cece smiles at her son tenderly and places her hand over his.
"Aw, come on kiddo. What's dad talking about?" Bullfrog looks positively thrilled with himself.
"The girl down the street. Yellow house. Edwards?" Eli involuntarily sinks down in his chair, and Cece's eyes light up at her husband's words.
"Clare Edwards? She is so pretty! Oh Eli, what happened?" His mother squeezes his arm tightly.
He runs his fingers through his unwashed hair, thinking of ways to evade this particular line of questioning. The Edwards girl had been occupying his thought far too often lately, and he was not ready to face these feelings head on.
Regardless of how his heart lurched at the sight of her laughing with her friend.
"It was nothing. She's hot. That's all."
Cece groans and rolls her eyes. "Oh come on baby boy, she seems like a lovely girl. Why don't you ask her over for dinner?"
"Come on kid, get to know her. It would be a great way to enjoy all of this heat. If you know what I mean…" Eli can feel a slight blush rise on his cheeks. There would be no way he could to avoid it now.
"Are you blushing? Well hot damn, boy. You must like her."
The red numbers on Clare's clock are taunting her. She can hear raised voices from the floor below and attempts to will herself to sleep. It was bad enough that her room was sweltering, but her parents just had to pick tonight to continue their ongoing battle against each other.
The evening had begun civilly. Her father returned home from work exhausted, but smiled and placed a kiss on his daughter's head as he made his way to the kitchen. Clare's mother greeted him warmly and pressed the back of her hand to his forehead.
"Tough day, dear?"
It wasn't until much later did all hell break loose. Clare couldn't even remember the words that caused the eruption, but she sank away into the solace of her bedroom nonetheless. These past few months had been painful, full of awkward meals and frustrated car rides. It seemed as though the hotter the weather became, the more her parents' relationship deteriorated.
She found comfort in the pages of her books, a variety of authors, past and present. Each of her stories helping to hide her from the fragmentation of her family. But tonight not even her novel could keep her sufficiently distracted.
She glances over her shoulder to her nightstand.
She rolls off of her bed soundlessly and moves toward the window. A sudden crash from downstairs momentarily alarms her.
"Do you even want to be here anymore?" Clare winces at her mother's words.
She can't listen to this anymore. She begins quietly gathering her purse, a book, and other necessities.
Clare had never been particularly rebellious, but she needs to get out. She needs to go where she can breathe. Clare's hand reaches for her doorknob tentatively. She wonders how she is going to be able to get out unnoticed?
From downstairs she hears a door slam deliberately. "I'll just sleep in the basement then!"
Footsteps teeter up the staircase towards her and she holds her breath. A door across the hall creaks open and shut and Clare releases the breath she was holding inside. She leans forward and cautiously turns the handle.
Creeping down the steps, she tosses her purse over her shoulder and makes her way to the front door. Careful not to be heard, she slips over the threshold, down the porch stairs and out into the night.
The wind softly blows through Eli's window, helping to momentarily cool the room. He had tried just about everything conceivable to squelch the heat, to no avail. The late evenings are particularly difficult for him. It's when the memories of the previous summer come rushing back and the silence overwhelms him.
Giving up, he reaches for his keys and pockets them. Cece and Bullfrog were likely long asleep, preparing for their early work hours the next day.
He tips the back door shut gently and hops down the stairs to his car. It is a nice night, despite the fact that no stars can be seen though the city's smog. He halts suddenly when he catches sight of a small figure sitting on the curb down the street. Clare.
He briefly considers what to do and approaches her. "Hey." He cringes inwardly at his lack of eloquence.
She appears startled when she hears his voice, and doesn't seem to relax at all when she makes out the features of his face. "Oh."
He tosses his car keys in the air with one hand and catches them in the palm of his other. "You want to uh, come for a ride?" He can't be sure but he thinks he sees a smirk pass over her features.
He is, on the other hand, very certain of how blue her eyes look in the moonlight. A crisp, clean blue, a colour he had previously thought to be impossible. Her eyes are the type that a person can get lost in.
In the preceding weeks Eli had been enthralled by her bouncing curls, and boisterous laugh. He had watched her reading, a different book almost everyday.
He had admired the womanly curve of her hips from the comfort of his bedroom. And now, standing in front of her, he can't help but be disappointed that he hadn't seen her eyes before today.
"I don't even know you." Clare's voice is docile and feminine, just as he had imagined. He has to resist the urge to reach out and cup her cheek, a strange impulse.
"Eli Goldsworthy. 17. Son of Cece and Bullfrog. Owner of Morty," Eli jabs his thumb to point at the vintage hearse, "a number of bootlegged Clash records on vinyl and the full Vonnegut collection."
Clare's eyes shine as she lifts a hand upward and Eli pulls on it gently, helping her to her feet.
"Clare Edwards. 16. And that thing is kind of creepy."
Eli chuckles and turns on his heel toward the car. He tosses a look over his shoulder casually, signaling for Clare to follow.
"Be careful, that's blasphemy around here."
Clare is trying not to stare at the boy sitting in the seat next to her. She is thinking of ways to tell him she was waiting for him tonight. Wondering when he was going to appear and drive off into the night. None of the ideas that she has thought of so far make her sound remotely sane.
Strange. That was her initial opinion of Eli. But now, sitting in such close proximity, she notices how handsome he is. But he isn't typical, that's for sure. She thinks that it's his crooked grin and the warm green colour of his eyes that she finds most appealing.
Her gaze moves to the steering wheel and she observes that he has dirt lining his fingernails; his hands look rough and calloused.
"It's from the car." Clare's head snaps up to meet Eli's eyes. They are filled with amusement.
"Huh?" Her head slants to the side and she narrows her eyes.
"My hands, it's from working on the car. I noticed you staring." Clare can't help but turn a thousand shades of red. She sputters, trying to form a coherent sentence.
"I wasn't staring!" She cries much louder than intended, which causes Eli to shake with laughter. She sighs and folds her hands over her torso emphatically.
"You find me amusing?" Clare questions, and Eli tilts an eyebrow upward, the grin still prominently etched across his face.
"Truthfully? I find you…fascinating." Clare's blush remerges and she fixes her gaze out of the passenger side window, allowing her arms to fall from her chest.
Anxiously, Clare fiddles with her seatbelt and moves one of her hands to the cross that dangles from her neck. It's a nervous tick that has developed over years of being the shy, smart girl. Rubbing her hand vigorously over the silver charm seems to calm her, helping to release the awkward tension in her fingers.
"Big fan of the fella upstairs?" Eli's eyes are focusing on the traffic lights ahead as he speaks.
He has seen her necklace.
She nods her head in the affirmative. "Well, I used to?" Clare realizes that her response sounds much more like a question, which adequately represents her religious beliefs of the moment. Apprehensive.
"Ah, I see. Your parents too?"
Clare's face scrunches as she thinks of her parents back at home, sleeping floors apart. She doesn't really know much about her parent's beliefs anymore. It feels more like two strangers are living with her in their house.
"I guess you could say that's the case." Eli's eyes look at her probingly. They seem sincere and safe, and Clare lets the words fall from her lips.
"They haven't been around much lately. They don't like to be in the same room for very long."
Eli's next actions appear automatic, as if he's moving without thought. He reaches to turn on the car's radio and switches the dial to a soft melody, something Clare is sure she recognizes.
She is trying to remember where she has heard the song before but is preoccupied when Eli lifts one hand off of the wheel and intertwines their fingers. She watches him move their hands into his lap, and rub his thumb over her palm in soothing circles.
…This one is different 'cause she's lonely.
It seems to Eli that Clare's blush is a somewhat permanent fixture. No matter what he says and does, she always seems to be shyly glancing at him, a blush adorning her cheeks.
He rubs her hand absentmindedly, admiring the lights of the buildings they pass. In the daytime the city is overwhelmed with people, noise and pollution, but at night? At night was when Toronto was beautiful and calm.
"Thank you." Clare's voice is small when she speaks and makes Eli wonder if it was merely a figment of his imagination.
"For what?" Eli questions.
Clare lifts her feet from the floor and slides her body across the seat, both of them taken off guard by the gesture. Before either of them is aware, her head is resting softly on his shoulder, their hands still connected in his lap.
"I've watched you these last few weeks. You leave your house every night at around the same time. I needed to get away, so I waited for you."
Eli is tempted to laugh at how nervous the girl next to him sounds, but he thinks better of it. Instead, he opens his mouth to respond, but is cut off as she continues her explanation.
"My parents, they're always screaming at each other. I feel so trapped." Eli isn't sure what to do next but he wants to comfort her, yet another strange impulse. Without thought he presses his lips to her head softly and feels his heart jump at the contact.
He thinks of the girl slouching against him, and feels momentarily guilty. He would be truly alone without his parents. Their home was like his personal sanctuary.
"Where are we going?" Clare asks.
Eli gently releases Clare's hand and brings his arm over her shoulders, pulling her body tight to his. He watches her eyes drift peacefully shut and leans his lips to her ear.
"Shhh. We'll be there soon."
Clare's eyes blink open when she feels the car pull up to a stoplight.
She reflects, for an instant, on her irrational behaviour. She ran off into the night with a complete stranger. She told no one of her whereabouts, and is now cuddled up against him, in his hearse of all places.
On a normal day Clare would feel panic at her actions, but at the moment all she can think of is how much she enjoys the feeling of being pressed flush against him.
His fingers are dancing across her bare shoulder and she wonders fleetingly what it would be like to feel his hands touch more of her. Clare blushes at the uncharacteristically suggestive thought, and nuzzles her head deeper into the crook of his neck, her actions causing Eli to sigh audibly.
"We're here." Clare wonders exactly where Eli thinks here is. They appear to be stopped in an empty parking lot.
Before Clare can wonder or worry about anything else, Eli releases her, and exits the vehicle. She reaches for the car's handle, only to have the door pulled unceremoniously open. The grin that stretches across Eli's face causes her to giggle and he reaches toward her, gently pulling her out of the car.
He intertwines their fingers once more and she leans into his grasp. "Eli", she breathes, "where are we going?"
She hears him laugh and he keeps walking. "I like the way you say my name."
Clare can see the lights of the city twinkling overhead, and can hear the sound of water from the harbor calmly lapsing against the shoreline. She grabs his hand, pulling him to an unexpected stop, and he looks at her curiously. She leans up to him and wraps her arms around his neck, her lips leaving a ghost of a breath on his cheek.
Eli hopes that Clare can't feel a certain part of his body twitch when she whispers into his ear. He thinks momentarily of how he barely knows her, how she must feel somewhat uncertain of being alone in an empty parking lot with a stranger.
"You're safe with me." He tries to make his voice sound assuring, but realizes details would probably be better suited to the moment.
"I found this spot one night when we first moved into the city. I've been coming here most nights, just to think." Clare nods at him and allows herself to be dragged toward the water.
The young couple wanders down through an array of debris and around a bend in the water, their hands clasped tightly. Eli hears Clare let out a gasp.
"This is breathtaking." Clare is smiling at him approvingly and he can't tear his gaze from her. He knows how cliché his thoughts are, and a part of him is embarrassed, but he speaks regardless.
"You are." He can see her pale blush again in the light, the city playing the part of backdrop.
He drops down on a smooth rock and waits for her to follow suit. When she does he pulls her against him, her back level to his chest, both of his hands tightly clasping hers. He leans his lips down against her neck and presses a soft kiss there, experimenting with her boundaries.
"Wow." Clare breathes aloud, and turns in his arms.
Eli is startled when she presses her mouth to his fervently, and they stumble backward onto the rocks. Once his wits are somewhat collected, he reaches his hands up to tangle into her mess of curls, ignoring the pain spreading throughout his lowering back.
He hears her sigh into his lips, and his heart is pounding against his chest. He realizes that he has been waiting for this moment for some time, but no heated teenage daydream seems to compare to having her lying on top of him so intimately.
Their mouths move in tandem while her hands roam aimlessly up and down his sides, and the taste of her lips makes him groan. An urgent need pools in his stomach, and he continues to attack her lips with fervor.
He can't be sure how long this goes on, but he eventually feels her pull her mouth away from his. Both of her cheeks are reddening, and her breathing is labored. She is beautiful.
Clare is vaguely aware of the time that passes. They are taking turns staring into the night, and kissing each other hotly. None of the kisses Clare has had up until now have felt like this. They all seem too innocent and meaningless in comparison. Childs play.
She looks at Eli when he places his chin on her shoulder. She wants to know everything about him. Why is he always so alone? Why did his family move? Why are a few of his fingernails sketched with black permanent marker?
"What's going on up there, Ace?" Eli taps two fingers to her temple.
She giggles. "I barely know you."
"Well", he kisses her once, twice, three times, "what do you want to know?"
Her mind races, considering a number of questions to pose to the boy in front of her.
"Why did you move? I mean you're going into senior year, aren't you?"
She watches him take a deep breath. "Yeah, I'm starting senior year."
His eyes dart back and forth and she wonders momentarily if she asked too much of him too soon. She remembers that she doesn't know him at all and stiffens in his arms.
"My dad, Bullfrog, he's a radio DJ. So, we move around a lot." Eli inhales again, looking pained. "A few years ago we moved to Burlington. It was nice there and we were settled. It was the longest time I had lived in one house in my whole life."
Eli's arms loosen from around her and he stares out to the shimmering water. Clare can feel her earlier apprehension soften and she laces her fingers with his.
"I had always had trouble making friends, when you move a lot it becomes normal. But then I met Adam." A bright smile passes across his features and she can tell he is recalling a happy memory.
"He harassed me until we became friends. Never leaving my side, yammering on about comic books." His eyes grow reflective and he picks up a loose rock to toss into the surf. "We were inseparable. Machismo and me."
Clare looks at him pointedly, silent encouragement to keep speaking.
"It was so hot last July. I had just gotten my driver's license and we were goofing around, driving too fast. We were reckless and we didn't even see the other car." He looks down into his lap, covering his eyes with his free hand. She can hear the faint sound of traffic in the distance but she keeps her eyes trained on his face.
"A drunk driver. He didn't even make it to the hospital." He releases her hand and he falls softly against her open arms. She doesn't know what to say, she doesn't know what will make him feel better.
"I tried afterwards to be normal, but it wasn't the same without him. I felt like I was suffocating, but I was always alone." He chokes back a sob and Clare grips him tightly. "And driving a hearse and painting your nails black doesn't exactly deter people from gossiping."
"So", he wipes away a few stray tears and straightens himself from her stranglehold. "Bullfrog got another transfer and here we are. I never would have survived without them. My parents."
Clare feels a quick sting of jealousy and is immediately embarrassed. She knows that this moment is not about her insecurities or problems. Instead of speaking she cups his cheeks and places an innocent kiss on his lips, trying desperately to comfort him.
She watches him stand to his feet and smile at her. "I think we'd better get going."
Eli is mortified by his behaviour. He's only known her for a few hours and he is already crying in front of her.
They are walking separately to the car, him a few strides ahead of her. He let her in. She is the closest anyone has been to him in recent memory, and that frightens him.
He hears her clear her throat loudly, breaking the silence. He glances over his shoulder to see that she is smiling at him.
"What's up Edwards?" He studies her, wondering what she could possibly be grinning about.
"I finally remember the song that you played in the car." Eli can feel a blush spread across his cheeks and Clare walks toward him slowly.
"It was playing on Alli's radio the day you moved in. I remember." Eli considers the small radio, most likely still abandoned on the Edwards' porch. He knew she was right. In fact, he remembers the moment quite vividly.
Eli lifts the box from the ground grunting. Somehow lugging all of Bullfrog's records into an empty house seems less like the fresh start he had envisioned, and more like punishment.
He's sweltering and he can feel his lungs burn. His eyes catch sight of fast movements a few houses down the street and he loses his breath. She's dressed casually in cut-off shorts and a bright yellow t-shirt, but she looks stunning, like sunshine.
Her curls bounce effortlessly as she dances next to her friend. They're laughing, and smiling as they bound through the sprinkler in the front yard.
He hears a small melody playing over their laughter.
…This morning I woke up with this overwhelming fear of love, and I'm not sure if I can resurrect you…
He takes a deep breath and turns reluctantly away from the dancing girls. Maybe this move was more than he had bargained for.
The memory ends, and Eli lifts his head to see a small tear threatening to spill from Clare's eye. He raises a hand to her cheek and quickly wipes it away, before it can trickle down the curve of her cheek. He gives her a knowing smirk.
"Purely a coincidence."
The drive back home is filled with laughter. She is trying to help him forget about their earlier exchange by pestering him, mostly about his choice in music. Too loud. Too angry. Hasn't he ever heard of pop music? She appreciates the way he smiles at her, as if she's the only other person in the whole world.
They also talk about books. She just finished reading a Vonnegut, Slapstick.
"I don't get the clearing his throat thing? Is it supposed to be Vonnegut or Wilbur? I mean, hi ho, it doesn't sound very much like a hiccup."
Eli lets his arm tighten around her waist and she wiggles closer to him. "Did you ever think that maybe you're thinking too much into it? Why don't you just take it at face value?"
Clare rests her head atop of his shoulder, his eyes darting between her face and the road. She looks down at his dark clothes and his worn out boots and laughs despite herself.
"Face value, huh?" Eli seems to catch on to the hint she is giving and he tickles her side affectionately.
"I meant the book Ace."
She smiles and lets the silence overtake them. It's comfortable now, not pained or hurting, so she lets her mind wander.
She considers what all of this means. Will they speak to each other in the morning? Are they dating now? A bubble of panic rises in her throat. What if this all ends tonight?
Eli must notice a change in her behaviour and clears his throat. The car is pulling onto their street, the faint light of dawn hanging in the horizon.
His voice drawls slowly, "Can I swing by tomorrow?"
She knows that the look on her face is jubilant, but she can't help it. The thought of not being close enough to touch him makes her sad. She nods her head vigorously as the car pulls to a stop in front of her house.
She watches him lift his foot from the gas peddle and put the car into neutral. Impulsively she swings her legs over his and finds herself straddling his lap. The car cab is cramped and she has to lean down to avoid hitting her head on the roof.
He seems surprised by her actions but lets his hands creep along the edge of her blouse, twisting the fabric between his fingertips. She moves forward and presses their lips together. Their kiss is ardent like those before it, but it differs subtly, perhaps it is the promise for another that makes it that much sweeter.
In a moment she bounds from his lap, grabbing her bag and tiptoeing up the stairs. She turns back to him once more to offer a quick wave and a wink, taking his heart along with her
GOOOOOOD MORNING! That was 'Loose' by the Stooges. An early-morning jam to help you p-p-power through this heat!
Eli groans at his father's voice, blaring through his bedside clock radio. The numbering indicates that it is 7:40 AM, far too early for him to venture into the world.
According to my good ol' temperature dial, it's gonna be another scorcher.
Despite the hour, Eli swings his legs over the side of his bed and stretches his arms above his head. He wipes the sleep from his eyes and walks toward the window at the front of his bedroom.
It's currently 32 in city and I'm told we might see the forties before noon today.
Eli is resting his body against the frame of the window, leaning his head outside. The neighbourhood is at its usually busy pace, parents leaving for work, deliveries being made, children playing in the street.
He looks down towards the bright yellow house with its white wraparound porch and smiles brightly. Perhaps the heat would be a bit more tolerable today.