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Dakota sat solemnly on her bed. She was still, so still, she may not have even existed. The soft blanket, which gave her the most comfort, was all bunched up towards the head of the bed. Pillows and stuffed animals and stray socks were piled atop of the blanket. Dakota sat with her back leaning up against the pile. The window next to her bed was open. It was not terribly hot out. The temperature was somewhere in the low seventies, she imagined, and there was a gentle breeze. It was her favorite type of weather. It made her feel safe and completely at ease. She loved to sit on her bed with the nurturing breeze flowing through her window. It took her to a more peaceful place in her mind.

The man walked into her room. She did not know him, but she had let him into her house. She had been the only one home. He was above average height. He wore faded blue jeans, secured with a crumbling leather belt. A white t-shirt was tucked in at the waist. The man had a distinct odor of sweat and demanding physical labor hanging about him. He was heaving an air conditioning device, panting with the effort. He set it down on a stool, as his partner entered Dakota’s room. The path was clear, as Dakota had pushed all her belongings to the head of the bed. The two men, each grasping a side, placed the unwieldy system in the open window by the foot of the bed, as they grunted with the effort, and as Dakota held her silence.

The man’s partner fastened the air conditioner in place with an electric drill and screws. The man handed the plug to Dakota. Only her hands were slender enough to reach the outlet between her bed and the wall. The window had been sealed with the machine. Instead of the air from outside, Dakota would now get air from the conditioner. This rude invader blocked the outside air’s path.

The men left Dakota’s room to put the same device into her brother’s adjacent bedroom. Dakota pressed the power button on the machine. She wanted to see how it worked. She noticed that the temperature, when she turned it on, was set at 73 ddegrees. It didn’t feel the same as the low seventies weather outside. The air from outside had been a gentle flowing stream. There had been no clear pattern or design to it. It had had a mind of its own, coming as it pleased. This machine air came out faster, in rapid jerks. This air reeked of a moldy basement after a devastating flood.

Dakota knew that on a hot July day she would be grateful for the device. The gratitude would inevitably arrive with the blazing sun. But on this day, on the day of her favorite weather, she resented that air conditioner. She resented the machine for taking away the breeze she was accustomed to dreaming in.
She found it difficult to fall asleep that night. The snorting and grunting as well as the constant humming of the machine, made it difficult to hear her dreams.




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