“Is it ever going to rain?” Amanda complained the other day. “This dry heat is about to kill me!”
We could see her point. For months, we’ve sweltered in blazing heat. Every morning, we peer out the window and look up, hopefully, at a sky covered in grey clouds.
“Is it going to rain?” Saffy asked one day. “I need it to rain. This heat is making me so grumpy! Well,” she paused, “grumpier than normal, anyway.”
All the trees and lawn in our condo have turned a dry shade of hay, the flowers visibly wilting on branch. And you can always tell where the dogs have peed on their walks because the patches look like Chernobyl.
“The lake at the Botanic Garden is drying up!” Amanda reported after coming back from a morning walk. “Those poor swans! Pretty soon, they’ll be walking from one end of a muddy flat to the other!”
There are days when it feels like it’s going to rain as bruised clouds bank up on the horizon, and the pressure builds so that it feels like your head is being wrapped with a tight rubber band.
“Oh my God, my head!” Saffy moaned as she lay on the sofa. “Will it just rain, already?!”
Once a couple of weeks ago, the sky suddenly cracked opened and a wall of water fell on the world. For 10 minutes. But what glorious 10 minutes they were. I was doing yoga at the time and the ambient light turned dim and the view outside the ground floor studio misted over as fat drops of water splashed and hissed on the hot asphalt and the perfume of ozone filled the air. The pot plants by the kerb bounced with raindrops and you could almost swear you could see the grey dust-covered leaves turning green before your eyes.
Master Suresh, our yoga teacher, stopped talking in the middle of an instruction and walked barefoot out into the street where he stood, arms wide open and head turned up to the sky as if to receive heaven’s blessings — a Bollywood version of that rain scene in Shawshank Redemption — leaving us all, literally, hanging in a downward dog pose.
And just as suddenly, the rain switched itself off. Almost immediately, the air turned turgidly humid, and the street started to steam.
Amanda later said she’d been walking home when the rain hit and were it not for the fact that she was wearing a very expensive Celine skirt and a hideously overpriced Chanel jacket, she, too, would have bounced out into the street like Master Suresh to get drenched. As it was, she stood in the five-foot way, staring up at the sky and feeling a little cheated.
Saffy said she was just emerging from her office when the rain stopped and by the time she’d walked 10m, the humidity had turned her hair into the follicular equivalent of a badly constructed bird’s nest. “It was just awful!” she said that night after an hour in the bathroom with a lot of hair products.
Of course, the haze starting showing its face again and the sun has, as a result, turned a scary apocalyptic yellow in the fuzzy ash grey sky.
This morning, Saffy stood at the window of our flat and looked out into the world. “We need to go somewhere for a holiday, soon,” she told me. “I mean, look at this, it’s like the aliens are about to arrive and wipe us all off the face of the planet!”
When I reported this to Amanda on WhatsApp, she sent back an emoticon of eyes rolling, but by the afternoon, she’d sent us a group chat message advising that she’d booked us all a long weekend beach getaway to Phuket.
“Wah, she so nice hor?” Sharyn said as she watched Saffy perform a little celebratory jig in the office. “Ay, I oh-so wan to go leh!”
“Well, ditch your kids and husband and come along! We can sit on the beach and chat!”
“Cannot lah! You think so easy, issit?”
“They’re not going to die if you’re away for three days and two nights!” Saffy told her.
Sharyn pursed her lips and said she’d give the matter some more thought, even as she checked in again on her weather app for the coming week. “Aiyoh, so hot…,” she murmured.
Of course, just to prove the point that the gods have a terrible sense of humour, she decided to also check the weather for Phuket for the days we’re going to be there. The forecast: rain.
“Rain?!” Saffy shrieked. “I don’t want it to rain! What would be the point of going away if it’s going to rain?!”
Sharyn rolled her eyes.
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures