After the funeral, Andy took me on a drive into the desert, past where the roads turned to dirt and the cookie-cutter suburban houses turned to scraggly, thorn-filled bushes. Predictably, he didn’t say anything for the whole hour, just tapped his fingers against the steering wheel rhythmlessly. Andy never talked much, even when we were kids; it’s why I liked him. But now, suffocating under the bone-dry August heat, I wished he would offer me something to hold on to, even if it was one of the meaningless platitudes I’d spent the entire afternoon fielding.
The day of Kaya’s death marked the end of an extremely anticlimactic monsoon season. Arizona had been drought-prone since before I could remember, but this summer is a different beast, Kaya had told me. I remembered, with sudden, terrible clarity, the redness on her cheekbones that never had time to turn to a full-blown sunburn. This summer is a different beast. She had been warning me the whole time. Why hadn’t I listened?