She looked so out of place walking down the sidewalk. It was a hot
day. By hot, I mean shirt sticking to the small of your back where even the breeze doesn't cool you because it's hot too, kind of hot. The kind of hot where every breath leaves you parched for a tall sweaty glass of iced water. Where, you want to take an ice cube out of the glass and stroke it against your throat, the back of your neck, and across your forehead. Yah, THAT kind of a hot day, beyond sweltering
So there she was walking down the street carrying a BIG red/yellow/blue/white beach umbrella. She was wearing a wide brimmed white hat, big dark sunglasses and a long sleeve white cotton shirt buttoned all the way up to her neck tucked into light brown loose fitting linen pants. To top it off, she was wearing white gloves. Periodically she would wipe the sweat off her brow with those gloved hands. Here I am, ready to peel my shirt off and she is dressed like some movie star in hiding! I didn't stay to ponder her long. I was in search of cool relief!
Later that day, a couple walked into the store looking for a broad brim hat for their one year old. The father is decked out in the same type of outfit as that woman I had seen earlier was, except he is all in black. He had this long back hair held neatly in place in a pony tail. His glasses were tucked into his front shirt pocket, his gloves hung loosely out of his back pants pocket. The thing that stood out the most to me was his pale skin. Granted the man was very sharp looking, but he definitely was not "cool". Curiosity got the better of me, seeing as this was the second person in one day dressed so inappropriately for the weather (in my estimation).
"It's 100 degrees out sir, aren't you hot?"
Yes, I felt rude in the asking. I don't think I would have had the nerve to ask if I hadn't seen that woman earlier.
"Yes, it is hot", he smiles, "but I have to dress like this. I'm allergic to the sun. I'm very grateful for the air conditioning you have here!"
I take the sun for granted. It had never occurred to me that some people would have to avoid it. (Maybe that's where the vampire myths sprang from? People with sun allergies?)
"We've discovered our son probably has the same condition. That's why we need the hat. We're going to an outdoor wedding tomorrow so he needs to be protected."
The child's stroller has a large blanket draped over the top. He too is very fair skinned. I don't know what to say. He won't get a day at the beach. My heart feels tight at the thought of this child growing up without the sun, forever in the shadows, a prince of darkness in the land of perpetual sun.
After they leave, I take a break to sit outside, close my eyes and raise my face to the sun to feel it's warmth. The sweat rolls down my back unnoticed...