Heat Wave

by Michelle Panik

That weekend, you didn’t leave Costco without a fan, a watermelon, or both. One hundred and three degrees wasn’t record-breaking, but for May it was unusual. Costco was showing mercy and had priced their fans and melons to sell. But even so, I couldn’t tell my mother how much I’d paid for either. As I carried them into her apartment, one held like a lunchbox and the other a football, I said I’d found the fan in my laundry room, and the watermelon had been free with groceries. Everyone in San Diego was worrying about the upcoming summer, not caring about the cost of A/C and just hoping the units would last the season; my mother turned that fan off every time she left to look in on elderly neighbors, including the time she found senile Mr. Newsome fiddling with his furnace, muttering that the damn thing wouldn’t shut off.


Michelle Panik has a BA in Writing and Art History from UC San Diego, and an MFA from the University of Maryland. She lives in San Diego with her husband and their dog Louie, whom she likes to post photos of on her blog.