Some days it gets too hot. I go outside anyways. I forget about the rules and wear short sleeves. My body may be free, but my brain swells in the heat. I can feel it against the inside of my skull when I stand too fast, pulsing with exertion.
In Psychology Today I read that vitamin D is vital to maintaining steady dopamine levels. I've highlighted a paragraph that says light exposure increases serotonin in humans, whose levels are lowest in midwinter and higher on bright days no matter what time of year. In 2014, they wrote inThe Economist that it would only be 35 years before 40% of the world's inland crops would become unsustainable. The New Yorker published a human interest piece on the inverse correlation between global temperatures and labor productivity. These speculative relics keep me company--now that there is no one left here to talk with, the casual arguments of op-eds will have to do. The relaxed sway of point, counter-point now moderates my internal monologues and even bleeds into the laboriously one-sided chats I have with the stray who comes by to sleep in the shade. I pour some water in her bowl and describe the many positive benefits of proper hydration. She cocks her head and I wonder if my brain has disappeared completely.
There are days when I spoil in the sun.
They become more frequent all the time: it starts with a drop of sweat at breakfast, and by lunchtime, I’m useless.
But when I sunbathe, I forget about the future. I've heard of cancer. I saw those photos of aging skin; ultraviolet scans of faces exposing the damage just below the surface. Yes, I know all about the risks, but I waited all winter to absorb the sun. I focus on the vitamins instead, trying hard to recite the measured language of selective science when I start to burn. By the time my shoulders are peeling, I imagine the cells working overtime to greedily harvest every violet ray, surging past the point of saturation until they're totally spent, like blown-out tires on a scorched highway.