thump thump thump

the heat surrounds me. i cannot move – it is overpowering. movement is not a possibility. i am restricted by the blistering heat


someone gives the call for breakfast. i sit up and work up more of a sweat just by struggling out of my sleeping bag. all of me hurts. i am bathed now, not just in heat, but the sounds of my friends waking up all around me

i don’t want to move

i pull on some shorts and a t-shirt that i have owned since i was 14. robinson unzips the tent and a rush of incredibly great heat rolls in. everyone groans. nobody says a coherent word

thump thump thump thump thump

robinson pulls open the flysheet and the world outside fades into view through the haze. it is not fully realised. some colour. some sound. the thump, i now realise, is my heartbeat, resonating through my head

i struggle with my trainers, which i slip on

i crawl out of the tent and force myself to stand up. mane follows behind. everything is covered by a haze. warm air sinks down upon us. ahead, some of the older adults are doing something with breakfast. the kitchen tent looks too hot. i very slowly begin to tread towards the mess tent

the mess tent is slightly cooler. it’s so full of people cooling off that i don’t notice

robinson’s dad calls the younger ones for breakfast. we wait, drowning slowly in the heat and complete lack of activity. talking hurts. moving is slow. difficult. heavy

we get the call and slouch our way to the breakfast table, our clothes clinging to our bodies as we do so

there is water and squash. the food is immaterial. what we need is water. i get some orange squash. my first sip is sticky. sugary. tastes very faintly of orange. it’s the best drink i’ve ever had

robinson is drinking too
mane is drinking too
hairy friend is drinking too
mane jr. is drinking too

we raise our plastic cups as one and head for one of the canisters of water. we refill and drain our cups. for the first time, someone makes a satisfied sound

there is a pause

someone calls for the morning circle

and we begin to assemble