The hot wind announced the rain―at least that’s what people used to say back in his hometown. When he was little, he celebrated those days when his mother accepted, in defeat, the disorder in her hair against her usual hairdo. Hot winds are good to spend time at the balcony and enjoy the silence of the house while the water is still contained inside the scattered clouds.

Now, he could see Marina and the children at the vegetable garden, the TV was on mute, and the kitchen looked like it hadn’t been used for quite some time. He could choose a book from his old collection, dust it off and remain there, growing roots, pretending he was reading, feigning the life he always wished to have, leaving his watch forgotten at the bottom of a drawer. However, he had only come to drop off the family, so they could enjoy the estate before it was for sale. Would they really sell it? After all, the apartment and the office were a few minutes’ drive from there. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep the place as a retreat for moments of leisure.

He imagined an idle afternoon in the middle of a workweek, spent at the balcony enjoying the warm kisses from the breeze or walking to the park nearby. Having a country house, for those moments when the apartment or the office were unbearable, was a bucolic dream that resembled those hot winds.

He rarely had some downtime, but the electricity company had scheduled the power to be out, so going back home would be inconvenient. Could you imagine what a nightmare it would be to spend hours without the AC?

Daydreaming about recent and past events, he took advantage of the book collection available to him and picked a book about the work of translators, fueling his vague dream of one day leaving his job and retiring to a quiet space with his pages and ideas. Working as a translator was something that started to take shape as an alternative to keep paying his mortgage in case he had the guts to walk away from accounting.

While daydreaming about it, he usually didn’t consider his limited knowledge of other languages and the lack of time spent abroad that could somehow help him when a slang would put him against the wall. He took a stroll through the chapters without stopping at any of them.

He left the reading and babbling aside, took a long deep breath and chose the least straight line possible to go on walking and let the afternoon wear itself out. Through those streets where he wasn’t used to walk, he dedicated his slow pace―somewhere between apathy and diligent movements―to observing the façade of old buildings. Some well-preserved houses transported him back to the time when the neighborhood was occupied by prosperous business owners who, during intense summers, would talk to their neighbors on the sidewalk while the heat did not favor any interaction inside due to the lack of an HVAC system. Imagining the routine from past times was a way to melt away his discontent with the present. It gave him the improbable satisfaction of comparing the everyday tranquility with the absent converser at his house. It filled him with the warmth of others―he could almost feel their caress. He was happy to see the colors that his eyes captured on exuberant flower beds, despite the fact that they seemed a little thirsty, and the shreds of music that escaped to the sidewalk. The act of postponing his usual silence enhanced the inseparable joy he felt by the absence of walls and brought about an unprecedented decision: He would call Andrea to go watch the sun set over river Guaíba, as they used to do in the past.

Give a title and share this story