Kage Baker loved summer. It was her time, her own season. She was born on its threshold, just as the signature sea clouds that mute May and June finally burn away (those years that they do): just when the first stone-fruit – plums, apricots, nectarines – came ripe on the trees all over Momma’s yard.
She was born when the moon is so bright and soft that the night sky is still blue: a dark blue, a dreaming sea blue, but not black, and thick with the soft summer stars. When we were little, the glare of the city was still subdued enough up in the Hollywood Hills that we could see the Milky Way over the dark garden. When we grew up, she and I, we spent a lot of our summers in oak groves, on wild-oat-seeded hillsides, on the white beach where the stars rotated down into the waters all night. Those soft summer stars were her favourites.
Things have been weird with me since Kage’s birthday, though the summer has certainly come on strong all over. It’s why I have been so quiet. It’s been like a long, silent explosion of rose petals and burning mist, spreading in the world like coloured glass melting into clear … just been hard to get through the days without Kage. The dreaded narcolepsies have been with me. Extreme luck is still following me around, too, good and bad. The writing is going well. My health is just going.
It’s time, evidently, to have my heart tuned up again. Several annoying symptoms have gotten worse – just precisely when I don’t want them, too. I’ve got things I’d much rather do that sit still and concentrate on breathing! Hence my introduction to the squeaky-new Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinai. Back to the enormous echoing temple halls we went.
I went to have an echo-cardiogram. Depending on what it shows, I may go on to an angiogram; and hence on to some interesting form of subtle engine implanted to discourage my heart from improvisational beats.
I quite dislike echo-cardiograms: I have sensitive ribs (I’ve broken a few over the years, and worn corsets for 4 decades.) a deep chest, and big tits. All this requires a lot of pressure for the magic sonogram wand to see through the muddy crystal of my flesh into the secrets of my heart … and it hurts. For a non-invasive test, it’s amazingly uncomfortable. And I had a cranky technician: one who muttered darkly at the difficulties I posed, sighed heavily when she or I had to wrootch around, and glared at me when I winced. Luckily, I really don’t give a flying moon monkey if it’s difficult for the tech – they are never the ones who have to lie there and get a large sonic screw driver pushed between their short ribs. I got through without wriggling, swearing or batting the tech in the nose like an irritated cat. So all was cool.
And Kimberly had kindly come along to drive me home, which was quite a relief; we made it home before the heat really began to rise. But it is rising; it’s 8:16 PM and still 76 degrees here. It’s supposed to get hotter each day for the next week, and end up smoking under triple-digit temperatures for several days. We’ll draw the drapes and turn on the AC and do all the washing after dark; lay in salads and interesting ice cream, and hide for a few days.
Kage would love that. She always rather liked it when the heat grew ferocious: she hated to sweat, but once she’d changed to her white silk pajamas, and aimed the big palm-leaf standing fan at the back of her neck – once she had her braid held up on her nape with a complicated scaffolding of hair sticks and butterfly pins – then she could relax with Butterfinger Ice Cream Bars and icy Coke, and play Monkey Island until the sun set and the house cooled down to the mid-70’s.
I’m following my own mojo – which revolves round iced coffee and Stephen King novels – and has the same basic effect. By the time the night is deep and the stars are bright overhead, it’ll finally be cool enough to write. Which is the whole point of this exercise anyway.
Time to mope less and talk more. Sorry for the long sulk, Dear Readers. But I have new pills and mint ice cream now, and things are looking up. And it is still beautiful summer, after all.