Nighttime is different when it’s warm. Everything is still, and ripe, and possible. I can’t hear cicadas here but the weather makes it so I almost think I can, humidity buzzing into the sound of cars and people sorting through trash down on the sidewalk. In the thick air, it might be mistaken for the friction of small legs, the hum of wings. When I first met Thomas and he still lived in Atlanta, he would stand in his driveway and record the sound of cicadas. He’d send me short sound-files, all hushed and buzzing, like the quiet could be louder than noise. The sound was green through the phone, summer nighttime, a green like when the darkness is so thick in summer it seems like it would take all your muscles to move your hand through it. The thing was, though, it wasn’t new to me, even as I acted like it was. A month or two after we met, I moved across the street from the park. Branches scraped my window and on hot nights large bugs got in, trespasser aliens making a wrong turn across the border from the wild to the city. I could hear the sound of cicadas every night and all night. I opened my windows after dark or walked home late down the long avenue empty as a still river at the edge of a town out in nowhere, while the rich houses slept early, and the air buzzed around me, a million tiny legs rubbing and rubbing and rubbing, as though trying to summon luck, or fire. I already had this sound for myself. But I took these gifts of a thing I already had and they still felt like gifts.
Subscribe below to read this post