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Icarus and Us

by Tina Wargo about a year ago in heartbreak
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by Tina Wargo

Heat does rise and you lived, in your cozy (for some), claustrophobic (for others) cottage so far up North, the summer hit late, but when it hit, it came on hard and with a fervor and fever I had not yet known. Did you know? When you cracked the windows in the car, when you put the fan on full speed, when you planted your garden, when we jumped into the old quarry, holding hands? Did you know how hot it would get? Did you know we’d fly so close to the sun, our wings would burn, or did you think the iced coffee and the hand-picked tomatoes and the occasional rain shower would cool us off?

Sweating next to you was a cleansing ritual; fanning myself, a breath of fresh air. Sticky days led to long, tepid nights where cigarette smoke was an unnecessary sweater, wrapping itself around me; finding its way from my lips into the warmest pocket of air that was you. I breathed it all in. The air. The smoke. The you. I held my breath all summer. When I finally exhaled, it was cold, but I’d still find myself sweating, and I’d refuse a drink.

Thirst makes a woman’s insides sear. Emptiness makes her lighter, so she can reach the sun faster; so when she falls, she goes slowly, like a summer day, beginning early and ending late and everything in the middle dragging like on a cigarette in the heat. And, oh, how hot it can get when you don’t realize the temperature’s rising. Is it rising, getting hotter and fiercer by the minute? Or is it just her; a woman in love; the mercury of a thermometer, crawling until she reaches the top, not realizing the higher she goes, the worse the diagnosis?

When heat rises, we let it, knowing that nature is simply taking its course. But when a woman rises to meet the heat—when she knows what could be blazing above her and still succumbs— we fear it, knowing that it is not in her nature to be so bold; to be so careless; to be so free.

There is nothing more astonishing than a woman who finds herself unafraid of burning. There is nothing more fearsome than a woman who longs to be burned.

And in that summer, through windows and cigarettes and rain showers, we learned that there is nothing more inconceivably gorgeous, nothing more achingly hopeless, nothing more excruciatingly inevitable than two women who get too close, not to the sun but to each other; because each other are The Sun; and (of course) they set each other on fire, willingly, and, like a Phoenix from the ashes; like heat itself; they rise; up, up, away. Onward, toward the next season.

Fall.

heartbreak

About the author

Tina Wargo

Tina is a queer writer in Brooklyn, who uses Google mostly to image search 45-year-old women in suits, and Twitter mostly to report on her findings. She has a deep obsession with narrative, a CAROL tattoo, and, relatedly, a degree in film.

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