Summer Heat

My Papa speaks like a porch rocker in a steamy summer. There’s a slow cadence, rocking back and forth lazily as his words bleed together like sweat drops combining to roll down my face. There’s nothing hard about the way he speaks, all soft consonants and gentle melody. Every word is a song, every sentence a symphony. When he speaks, you can’t help but hear the smile as a matching one forms on your face.

They don’t speak the way my Papa does here. Everything here is sharp staccato, like the click of heels on concrete. They speak like birds with clipped wings. Sentences are utilitarian, to the point and often no further. There are no roundabout stories that take detours into dusty corners of town gossip or funny little expressions here.

When I speak like my Papa, people can’t help but listen. My lilting drawl feels like buttery sunlight filtering through live oak leaves, suffusing the coldest corners of a gray place like this.

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