The heatwave had drawn the two women together again. Had it not been for the heat, would Flora have called Eve? Flora could not be sure. No words had been exchanged between the two for several months. But the relatively extreme heat had then arrived, unsettling Flora. There was only so much Flora could handle alone.

It had been the third day of the heatwave.  Flora typed Eve’s number into her phone. Flora, in a state of focus, was as certain as the phone she held. Eve’s number rang. Flora focused on positive notions. Flora visualised Eve answering the call with a smile. Flora visualised herself smiling in response to hearing Eve’s reassuring voice. Then Eve’s voice was heard.



It was an efficient telephone call. Eve’s pregnancy was only briefly discussed. The baby and mother were fine. The due date five months away.

Eve pulled the purpose of the call from out of Flora. They agreed that they would meet the day after next.

“It won’t be so hot then,” Eve said.

“Oh,” Flora replied.

“Your place will be fine.”

“Oh, I suppose, yes,” Flora said.

“And, let’s not talk about it.”


The dog barked at the pregnant woman. The domesticated beast charged up the apartment hallway and stopped suddenly. The dog put its muscular body between the pregnant Eve and its slim master Flora. The dog’s snout facing the protuberance that was the pregnant belly.

The dog growled. Flora raised her usually soft voice to chastise the dog. The dog, armoured by its developed muscle, disagreed with its master. The dog had added another bark.

To Eve, the dog’s utterance was directed at her extended belly. Eve was not bothered. Eve realised the dog was effectively a powerless thing, a de-sexed and infertile creature.

“No need to worry,” Eve stated for the benefit of Flora and the dog.

“I’m so sorry,” Flora said in a tone reminiscent of a teenager.

“I can’t remember its name,” Eve declared.

“Dog,” Flora returned.


“Really,” and then there was Flora’s tired attempt of a giggle. Then total composure, “Her name is Dog.”

The poor creature Eve thought.

“Boy or girl, do you know?” Flora finally asked.



“A girl.”

“Wonderful!” said by Flora with genuine enthusiasm.

“Yes, wonderful, isn’t it?”

“Do you have a name yet?”

“No,” Eve truthfully replied.

“It will come, it has to,” Flora replied.


This air-conditioning is Godly,” Eve said.

Despite Eve’s prediction, the weather had not cooled.

“You haven’t fixed yours?” Flora replied.


“Let me fix it. I know someone. Please?”


“Good, good,” Flora replied and smiled.

Aglow, Flora proceeded to talk about a man she had been dating.

Eve let her friend prattle on.

“But he was a boy,” Flora declared.

“I’m sure,” Eve replied.

Flora went to sip her tea to find it was empty.

“But he really was a boy, not like,” Flora spoke with hesitation.

“If you say so,” Eve gave before taking a successful sip from her cup.

Eve placed the cup and saucer back onto a side table with attendant cluttering noise.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Flora refrained, “I shouldn’t have said…”

Flora reached across to place a hand on Eve’s knee. The hand was quickly released.

All Flora could then do was to talk further about herself. Flora spoke about her plans for that evening. Flora spoke about the bout of dog baiting in the nearby public parks.

Dog then barked. Dog’s bark seemed to sway Flora’s chatter to the even more trivial.  Eve did her best to follow all that Flora was saying. To Flora’s ears, Eve’s words formed a tune rather than the conveyance of meaning.

The dog also soon lost interest in Flora’s monologue. Dog, not content to sit at Eve’s feet, moved and sniffed at the pregnant woman. The dog soon jumped up in an attempt to inspect Eve’s belly further.

“Dog!” Flora shouted.

Eve moved the dog’s blunt head away.

Flora gestured for the dog to come over to her. The dog followed the command and soon settled lethargically into Flora’s lap. There was a contented silence from Flora. The dog seemed to sigh. Eve sipped her tea. Silence again emerged to be broken.

“Another?” Flora had asked.

Flora simultaneously collected her friend’s not-quite empty cup of tea.

The dog barked again as Flora went to the kitchen. The dog’s bark was not threatening, but instead a rather sad utterance. Eve thought she could smell cigarette smoke coming from the kitchen. Eve could no longer trust the senses of her pregnant body.

Eve glared at the dog in safety as Flora could be heard banging drawers. The dog, in reply to Eve’s stare, looked woeful. Eve took pity on the barren dog and gave it a generous smile.  In apparent reply, the dog panted and appeared as if it was smiling. A realisation had then come to the pregnant woman’s mind.

“It can breathe?”

“Surgery,” Flora replied, returning back into the room with two new cups of tea.

Once seated, Flora talked more about the dog’s faulty head. Apparently, the dog was always going to need surgery on account of its breed.

“All pretty faces come at a price,” Flora spoke from her own pretty face.

The plain Eve let the comment go.

Flora went on to tell her friend the (unasked for) details of the surgery. The dog was taken to an expensive veterinarian. The dog, heavily sedated, had its nostrils cut and pulled then stitched. The dog was given painkillers and antibiotics. The dog had experienced some scabbing and a minor infection. The dog had to wear a plastic cone around its head.

The poor dog, Eve thought. Yet the dog sitting in its owner’s lap looked fine. The dog’s only apparent suffering was on account of its possible boredom.

“Aren’t we lucky to have Eve again?” Flora declared to the dog.


The afternoon visit continued with small conversation until the dog became unsettled. Dog traipsed to another room to then return to Eve’s feet. The dog had left one of its toys (a chewed plastic blue monster) upon Eve’s right sandal-clad foot.

“Throw it!” Flora commanded.

Eve did as she was told. The dog scuttled and brought the toy back to Eve. Eve looked down at the satisfied dog with its toy.

“She really is a lovely thing, isn’t she?” Eve spoke from her side of the room.

“Yes,” Flora limply replied.

“Does she play with the other dogs?”

“Not anymore.”

“What about those dog parks, you know, the leash-free ones?”

“Oh, I’m worried she’ll catch something,”

“Like a ball?”

“Yes,” Flora replied ignoring her friend’s attempt of humour, “and the other dogs scare her.”

Eve then learned that the dog was medicated to counter anxiety.

Eve then pondered. The dog is like its master.


The sharpness of high-summer daylight had started to wane. Conversation, like the visit, wound down. Eve considered if her appearance had unsettled Flora and even her dog.

Eve had always tried hard to not bring attention to her pregnancy. That day, Eve had worn a long, all-black, plain maternity dress despite the day’s heat. The dress was once a white maternity dress, heavy in material, yet stylish and serviceable. Eve was unable to purchase a maternity dress in black; was she really surprised by this? The pregnant woman dyed the white item with a pharmacy-bought liquid. The hasty recolouring had left a faint stain in a bathtub she rarely used. The black maternity dress was evidence of Eve’s hopeful attempt to hide her “lurid fertility.” Her form became a bulky shape of non-colour when wearing the dress. It was yet another of Eve’s friendly efforts she was sure went unnoticed by Flora.

Eve gave a kiss upon each cheek as she said her goodbyes to Flora.

“These hot days will soon end,” Eve said.

Eve was not surprised by the finesse in which Flora closed her apartment door. Eve knew Flora would be at that moment getting ready for her evening out. Eve pictured Flora forgetting the visit. Eve could imagine Flora focusing on clothing, gestures, and practised poses for the night ahead.

Eve walked down a long hallway and down an internal staircase. There was no one else about. All sensible people were inside their apartments escaping the heat outside. Eve could hear the ghostly sounds of televisions as she walked past each apartment door. And then she came to the top of the front stairs of the apartment block. Eve slowly made her way down the stairs. Focused on the task of moving her pregnant down each stair.

The last step down to the ground was awkwardly anticipated by Eve. There was a jarring effect as her right foot hit the ground, resetting Eve’s mind in turn.

I can only do as a friend should.

Both feet came to the pavement with the rest of the world still aglow. Despite the late afternoon hour, the accumulated day’s heat decided it would linger. The day felt like it was far from done.

Eve, for a moment, was uncertain where it was she was then meant to go.


Eve’s visit to Flora’s that afternoon had taken its toll. Eve had returned to her own apartment; a small zone of fetid air. The apartment was like a spoiled piece of fruit. Eve felt herself breathing in heavy wafting notions of stuff. And the issue of the broken air conditioner had not been fixed. Cheap attempts at redress had failed. Eve then considered Flora’s offer to fix the problem.

It was early evening, though still light. For a moment, Eve contemplated sleeping. Eve breathed in, a long breath, a long exhalation, a long sigh. No, she must make an effort. With found energy, she searched for food. Eve ate two slices of bread before giving up and returning to her bedroom.

Two pedestal fans had already been set up in her bedroom. Buttons were pushed and Eve disrobed, leaving only her panties on. Eve exposed as much of her perspiring flesh to the cooling action of the fans.

Eve was finally rested—not before cursing herself.


Eve had wanted the comfort of dreamless sleep, oblivion.

Eve was defeated. Beyond her bedroom, a renovating neighbour’s power saw could no longer be ignored. The power saw’s industrial cry punctuating an air that was already heavy with heat.

And poor Flora did eventually come to Eve’s mind. It had only been a short time since Eve had politely sipped tea with her. Yet even the problematic Flora had become a fleeting thought.

Eve looked at the ceiling above her bed, an off white and in need of a clean. Her eyes noted the cobwebs and dead flies caught in its corners.  Eve wondered where the spiders had gone?

In sleep, Eve disconnected from her physical pain. In a dreamless state, there are no nightmares; it is a salvation only realised after the fact. Oblivion. Eve had not dreamt of Flora or her dog. She had not even dreamt of the baby inside her belly.

The reprieve was, however, brief. From her hard-earned slumber, Eve awoke. There were the sounds of dogs in fight. Male and female humans yelled at the dogs and to each other.

There was the wet sound of a boot making contact with flesh, then a simultaneous yelp.

A silence came again.


Flora was in hysterics.

All Eve heard from her end of the line was the repeated word “dead.” It was the only word that had resonated amongst the words that Flora was screaming. The call was two nights after visiting Flora’s. It was still hot. The weather people continued to debate as to when it would end.

Eve was unsure of what Flora was talking about. Eve only knew it was Flora speaking. Had a celebrity died? Eve thought of the endless stream of famous men and women that Flora blindly followed.

“Good God!” from Flora, a jarring exclamation which spurred further thought within Eve.

Eve then wondered if Flora had been referring to one of her relatives.

“I put her in the freezer,” Flora said.


“Dog, my Dog,” Flora finally said.


Eve had first hesitated at Flora’s suggestion. She could not walk back to Flora’s.

The poor dog, indeed, Eve thought. Dead, yes, but killed by the neighbours, as Flora had suggested?

“So, can I come around?” Flora quizzed again.

“Oh, I don’t think so.”

“Yes, I know,” Flora said.

And it was true, Flora did understand.

“I’ll come and get you,” Flora finally suggested.

“You don’t have a car,” and Eve thought it was then settled.

“I’ll order a car,” Flora declared. “Ride to yours, then back to mine.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Eve said.

And then Flora gave a pathetic plea.

“Not tonight; tomorrow, maybe?” Eve gave back to Flora.


“I’ll call you in the morning,” Eve said.

Nothing but a dead tone. Flora had suddenly hung up the phone.


Eve could not remember the moment she fell into sleep.

Eve dreamt.

That evening’s dream presented itself like the playing of a film. There was a story even if the images put before her mind’s eye seemed erratic.

It was the story of Eve first meeting Flora. In the dream, the two were schoolchildren. Each girl was eight. Flora was the new girl at the school. Eve had caught Flora crying in a bathroom stall. Flora was crying because of her father. “He doesn’t like the heat.” Eve said nothing in reply. “The heat makes him sick,” Flora added, “he needs the cold.” The bathroom stall dissolved to become a field. It was snowing. The two young girls walked through the snow towards a house. “This is where I live now,” Flora tells Eve. A woman, Flora’s mother, welcomes the two inside. “This is my new friend forever,” Flora tells her mother. Flora’s mother smiles. “Would you like to see something?” the woman asks Eve. Without answering, the woman takes Eve by the hand. Eve is shown into a room. Eve can see her breath before her face. Eve is led to a black box at the back of the room. The box is the size of a wardrobe. “This is where we keep him,” the woman says. “Who?” Eve shyly asks. ”Flora’s father,” the woman replies. “Is he sleeping?” “Not quite,” the woman replies. “I don’t understand,” Eve cries. “Can I see him?” Flora’s mother opens a door to the box. Eve sees nothing inside. “It’s empty?” “He is there, but not there, like he never existed.” “I understand,” and Eve did. “He is yours now,” the woman adds. “And so is she,” the woman says as she points to Flora. “Why?’ Eve wonders. “It doesn’t matter.” Eve does not understand, but smiles as if in agreement. “Will you keep her in the cold?” the woman asks. Eve hears a dog barking. The dog sounds as if it, too, is stuck inside the box.  The box shakes and breaks apart.


It was early morning. It had begun to rain; it had been a long time coming. A dog’s bark in the distance turned into a howl. For the dogs too, after the heatwave, the rain was an odd event to question.

There was no heaviness to Eve’s awakened state, despite the dreaming. Eve remembered the details of a dream. A whiteness emerged within Eve’s mind amongst the processed sounds of outside; there is rain, the passing of traffic on wet streets, dogs making themselves known.

There was clarity; Flora would be okay; Eve would be okay, and even her fatherless child, too.

Eve doesn’t call Flora that morning, or later, for the dog days had ended.