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After a hot summer's day

     Boy, it's been hot! This evening I remembered a night not so long ago when I brewed a mini-pot of coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon and parked myself on one of the two wooden rockers on our back patio.

     The patio overlooks the street below and you can see out over the city lights and watch the sky with the sun disappearing into the horizon and the clouds turning shades of gray while tinges of pinks and yellows brighten and fade before you. High above the pinks and yellows and grays, the sky holds onto the brilliant blue of its daytime color. I had to move the neighbors' trees aside to see the sun slipping down. They've grown tall and thick and the sun hides behind them.

     Well, I couldn't really move those trees but if I could've, I would've. Instead I settled for watching the sky's changing colors. Remembering that evening, I put the coffee on—with the cinnamon, of course—and then head out to the patio to wait for it to brew.
Ouch! Hot air smacks me in the face when I open the sliding glass door. Hot coffee not a good idea. Darn. I was looking forward to a cool evening with my cinnamon coffee, watching the colors of the sunset, relaxing with no cell phone, no television—just me 'n the sky and the darkening trees.

     I consider. Should I sip my coffee in the air-conditioned house? Somehow that doesn't intrigue me. I go inside and glance at the coffee pot with its dark brew waiting to fill my cup and take me outside.  Hmm… Hot coffee for cool evening; cool coffee for hot evening?

     Maybe that will work. I press the button for ice cubes on the refrigerator and fill a tall glass, pour the dark brew over the cubes and go back out to the patio. It doesn't seem quite as hot. Maybe it's the cool glass in my hand.

     The world outside is motionless. The heat has frozen the world in place. I sit. I watch. I listen. The trees stand like statues against the sky. No sounds break the quiet, except for the trill of a songbird in the distance and the solitary "woof" of someone's dog. The sky colors change ever so slowly; the sun is somewhere behind the trees, settling into the horizon.

     Halfway through my tall glass of iced coffee—with cinnamon, of course—a cool breeze touches my face and faintly tinkles the wind chimes. I think of the times I sat here with my guy in the chair beside me, chatting about nothing in particular. Him telling me those lights in the distance were taillights on Highway 52—something I never would have figured out without him. I look at the empty chair. I look at the land below where the dogs used to play and I think how empty of life the place is.

     Just me and Paul. My son. He's full of life, for sure! But he's sleeping now. The dogs are gone – maybe to the same place my guy is now. Maybe we should get another dog. Or a cat. As I sit there, the world starts to come alive. A couple of cars drive by on the road below. The crickets are chirping in full concert. A man's voice carries up from a house on the street below. More dogs join in on the evening's discourse.

     The iced coffee's gone. The breeze has stopped. I sense a presence… A shadow appears at the edge of the bank of red apple and turns into a cat. Black and white. He peers up at me. I peer down at him. We recognize each other. He—or she—lives next door and visits occasionally. Maybe he'll visit more often… Paul and I could use the company. 

     It was a nice warm summer's evening after a hot summer's day.

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