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Humidity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Sweat ran down my forehead and onto the dry grass. The tattered Michigan Wolverines baseball cap I wore was hot and full of perspiration. I took the dirty, blue hat off my head with one hand, and with my other ran my fingers through my hair. The air was dense; it felt as though I was underwater. There was no shade to rest in, and the day would only be getting hotter. I put the hot leather gloves back on and picked up the black hedge trimmer. After giving the long orange chord a tug, I pulled the trigger. The two blades were replaced by a metallic blur, and all I could hear was the motor's high-pitched whine. In front of me, the overgrown bush quickly shed its chaotic outgrowth of branches. I glided the trimmer across the bush, shaping it into a cylinder. I stopped and stood back to look at the bush.

I was startled by a voice from behind and turned to find an old man. I let my hand off the trigger of the clippers and set them down on the ground. "Hello," the man said in a thick Spanish accent.

"Hello," I answered. The old man wore a straw hat that threw shade on his entire face, and he leaned on the smooth, wooden handle of an old hoe. A cigarette hung from his mouth, which held his wrinkled face in a grimace. He wore well-worn boots, a pair of jeans and a dusty, white button down shirt with the collar open.

"Muy humid," he said and waved his hand in the air as proof, "muy humid."

"Ya, I know," I answered tugging at my sweat soaked T-shirt. I squatted down and began raking the fallen branches together with my hands, and threw them into a trash barrel. The branches in the barrel had already begun to yellow, and soon these new ones would as the sun beat down upon them.

"What time? What time?" he asked. To make sure I understood, he slapped at his naked wrist.

"I'm not sure," I answered holding up bare arms, and then continuing to throw the dead branches into the can, "Probably about noon."

He nodded in agreement, and I could tell that his stomach was telling him the same. He looked down at the ground, and began moving one of his hands across the grass. He said something quickly in Spanish that I didn't catch, but I could tell he was impressed. "Muy bien," he said to me.

"Thank you," I answered with a smile, and pointed to the ground, "This is my grandmother's house. I mow the lawn for her."

He nodded in approval, waved good-bye, and walked back across the street to hoe the long lines of vegetables. As he walked, I could see the heat was taking its toll on him. He slowly shuffled toward the field, holding the hoe loosely in his right hand. As he walked away, a cicada bug gave a high-pitched metallic buzz, and the sun seamed to beat down even harder. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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