It was that time of the summer when the heat is at its peak. I found no rest in my usual routine, which was waking up every morning beside my girlfriend Marilyn, who had moved in with me some couple of months ago, greet her with a kiss before going downstairs to fix breakfast of toast bread and coffee for us. And kiss her again as I go off to work.
“See you soon,” I said to her mouth.
Everything seemed boring as the heat gets messier. The comfort I find in Marilyn’s arms seemed only to produce irritable sweat. The weather seemed to be playing a joke on us.
“Will you come by my work later?” she asked hurriedly as I was about stepping out of the house.
“I’m not sure,” I replied.
Marilyn worked in a flower shop which was not far from where I work and I often walk down to her shop for a quick snuggle and kisses. But this I hadn’t done this for a while, and it seemed she was okay with it because she never complained about it. I guess she understood it was the heat even though she would never say it out loud.
My workplace seem to bear the brunt of the heat. There were specks of dust on the desk, chairs, and files. The air conditioning struggled in vain to battle against the heat. The whole place reeked of perspiration. Work was slow.
I was at my desk surfing the internet to take my mind off the heat when I stumbled on an article about mountain biking. It seemed like the best thing to do to free up some tension and get in some fresh air down the lungs.
Right there at my desk I decided that I needed a break from everything, and going mountain biking appealed to me.
“This looks like the best thing to do at this time of the season,” I said to myself.
I stood up and walked to my boss’ office. He was behind his desk chatting away and laughing on the phone. He seemed to be the only one not affected by the heat. And that reason cannot be farfetched, as his bank account was fattened just a couple of weeks before. As far as I was concerned, he might have installed an air conditioner under his skin.
I waited for him to finish his chatter, and presented to him my idea of a few days’ breaks. Speaking now for just myself, using our accomplishment of the past week which I spearheaded. And just like I thought, he said it was a great idea, and he was thinking of giving everybody two days off
“I haven’t made up my mind though,” he said finally. “There seem to be a lot to do right now. Maybe when things get cooled off, don’t you think?” he asked as if my answer was ever going to change his mind. There is always a lot with the boss, and I guess that’s why they are called bosses. He was never going to make up his mind about that.
“You are the boss,” I said resignedly.
I was about to go out through the door when he said. “But you can go.”
I looked at him wondering if the word had come from somewhere else until I saw his lips moving again. “Take the rest of the week and resume on Monday. You deserve it.” He beamed.
It was on a Tuesday. I left the office at lunch and went directly there.
“I thought you said you were not coming, I knew you would miss me too much,” she said with a broad smile.
I returned her smile and kissed her. The place was empty, except for a regular customer who, according to Marilyn, never buys anything. “Well, I did miss you, and I have news that couldn’t wait.”
“Oh really, are you pregnant?” she teased. And we both laughed.
“My boss gave me the rest of the week off,” I said finally after our laughter receded.
“Wow! That took so long.”
“Yea?” I didn’t tell her that I had pushed my luck.
“How do you wanna spend it?” she asked after I didn’t say a thing for a while.
“I want to go for bike riding on the mountain.”
“Mountain biking!” she exclaimed. “That’s pretty unusual.”
“Yea.” I was enjoying the way she took it.
“I must say you have been behaving differently lately. It must be the heat.”
At that moment, I felt relieved that she mentioned it.
She helped me prepare, the next day as she ordered my gears, checked online for the best place to go for such occasion, and Texas appealed to us. On Thursday I left with the first flight.
When I got to the location, I was told that some bikers had just headed for the mountain and I could catch up with them if I headed out immediately.
I hurriedly unpacked and got set to go. But it still took me a while before I got to the mountains as they had gone way ahead of me.
The sun was up and fierce, and the wind was hot as well. I was sweating a lot. Although I was enjoying the ride, I must say it wasn’t how I had thought it would be. I was halfway through my bottle of water before I hit the mountainside. Alone and laboring, I got to the second rendezvous point and met no one. By then I had exhausted my last drop of water. No one told me it was this hard and hot out here.
I was contemplating this when suddenly I heard a roar. When I looked up, I saw a mountain lion several feet away. I started on my bike, while the lion chased. I kept paddling as fast as my lungs would allow. I was thirsty and all alone.
The lion seems to be gaining on me when luckily, I found a cave. I jumped off my speeding bike and dived into it. My throat and lungs begged for water, and there was none to give.
Not knowing where I was the lion kept roaring, as if it was cursing itself for allowing a potential meal to escape. But it didn’t leave the area, so I stayed in the cave. I was tired, thirsty and hungry. I regretted ever deciding to go mountain biking.
Hours passed by, and night seems to be coming. Eventually, the noise stopped. The mountain lion seemed to have given up and moved on.
I crept noiselessly out of the hole and looked around for any hint. When I was sure, I took my bike and rode back with great fear.