Five Summers in the Tower

Day 1,906

Summer is the season of betrayal. The long, sweltering days; the torpid nights; above all, the inescapable heat of the season; all combine to sap the will and deaden the conscience. Then, too, when all the city wriggles in the crushing velvet fist of August the dead zone of winter seems impossible, unbelievable. In such an atmosphere anything can happen.

Couples pass before my window in the evening, squabbling. Their voices, when they have crossed the long height to me, are tiny and incomprehensible. Alien, perhaps, save that I have seen the same argument a hundred times, a thousand, and move my lips to their fighting.

They are never clean, these summer endings: they trail a dozen grasping, hairy roots behind them, shrieking like mandrakes. Life is too fully lived in the summer for precision; in the winter the same dissolution would end quietly, in privacy and silence. The heat pulls their poison to the surface like a poultice.