It was an unusually fierce September sun which burnt down on Dave’s neck. Unusual considering the rarity of any sun at all during July and August. The wettest, dreariest, altogether worst summer Dave could remember was shedding it’s leaves in the most beautiful yellow glow of the year so far.
He was walking along on an Eastward path, listening only to the sound of Autumn under his feet, as he made his way to the front door of Christina.
He had only met her twice before, and this was to be the first time he had picked her up from her house. He was already nervous and self-conscious, but the increasing red tint on his neck, and the squinting of his eyes (he had left his sunglasses at home) was making him more so. And on top of all of that, he knew the heat and anxiety-produced sweat was now becoming unattractively visible.
The path was as straight as if the Roman’s had built it, and was offering absolutely no shade in it’s demand for the sun’s attention from rise to set. Dave begged for a bend to hide himself, even if for only a few moments. A small side alley allowed him to duck out of the glare for a few seconds; he was early, so he knew he could relax and take his time to an extent. He had planned it so that he didn’t need to rush, so that when his hand could finally clench and land five raps on her door he would look his best.
Now that the colour falling on his neck was dark and greyed he raised his hand so that it was about a centimetre or two away and tried to tell if it was burnt from the heat it gave off. It’s always difficult to judge this if you’ve only just stepped out of the sun, but Dave wasn’t quite thinking as he should, and didn’t have to when he could just blame the nerves. He tried touching his neck to see if it hurt, but again, he couldn’t tell. Realising it wasn’t that important, he instead focused on the beads of sweat covering his face. He only patted the ball of his palm to clear them though, not wanting to wipe too vigorously for fear of removing any traces of his most expensive aftershave he had put on earlier. It was the third date after all. This was the decider.
He raised his arms out to the side to allow the cross-breeze to infiltrate the short sleeves of his newly bought shirt, hoping that would be enough of a coolant to stop his skin leaking for another ten minutes.
Ten to one.
He was early still, but it would be dangerous to linger much longer. Another anxious pull at his heart (no doubt that will have started the sweating already, regardless of where the sun was) and he was striding back out into the light.
Seven minutes later and Dave was one last corner away. He could now afford some time, and so hung back and patted down his forehead and the bridge of his nose once more. The path had since weaved around a few of the houses in the estate and where he was was sufficiently shaded to ensure he was fully prepared to climb the doorstep to Chrissy’s house.
At exactly one o’ clock Dave was stood in front of the door, the number fourteen in dulled and slightly rain battered golden plaques, still managing to glisten today, hanging in the middle, four-fifths of the way up of a typical housing estate white door.
He chose the right of the two double glazed rectagonal windows to place his five knocks against. He took one step back, letting the recoil of that fifth knock swing his right arm behind him where he caught it with his left.
‘That looked cool’ he thought, ‘if Chrissy had seen that…!’
He was left to wait only a few seconds from the last knock before he saw the handle turn. The door edged smoothly, without a creak, back inside the house, and as it widened, she stepped forward and in front of it to stand before him.