Why is it so fucking hot?
Rubbing a hand across my sweating forehead, I look from the window to my brother and notice him fiddling with the air conditioner with one hand while the other rests on the top of the steering wheel. We were currently cruising on the highway, heading for our parents new place up north. We've been sitting in the car for almost six hours only stopping occasionally for a leak on the side of the road or to go through a drive through of a fast food joint.
"Jules, open the windows. The fucking air con's stopped working."
I promptly reach around my chair to the window behind me and wind it down before turning back and doing the same to the one next to me. The cool air rushes into the car and I rest my arm on the sill so the wind blows up my arm and billows the sleeve of my shirt. Cracking the window helped a little, but the car's still stuffy as hell.
Heath shifts in his seat to check the rear view mirror before indicating, making his way across the lanes until he can pull off to the side of the road and put the car in park.
"What the hell are you doing?" I frown, looking over at Heath as he undo's his seatbelt and opens the car door, stepping onto the gravel outside.
"I need a break." He answers; resting his hands on the roof of the jeep he leans down so his head is visible and raises his eyebrows, "My arse is killing me."
Grunting in approval, I open my own door and step onto the gravel, wincing as the sun light shines directly into my eyes. Shaking my head, I raise my hands above my head, flexing the unused muscles as I hear my joints crack.
"Ten minutes, then I'll take over driving." I sigh and drop my arms to my sides again and look over to see Heath leaning against the jeep, head tilted back and enjoying the sun.
He turns his head, his eyelids still closed due to the sunlight and nods at me, "Deal."
I pull open the boot to the Jeep and reach in for the ice box, dragging it towards me across the floor to open the lid and lift out a couple of waters. Grabbing the drinks by the lids with one hand, I swing the boot door shut with the other and move around the car to stand next to Heath, handing him the cool drink. Heath accepts it and screws the lid off, taking several large mouthfuls.
I lift the bottle to my lips and stare across the highway and into the tree's growing along it, knowing that just a few metres away in that direction is the ocean. Heath must have noticed my stare because soon enough, he shoves something heavy into my hands. The weight was familiar and I look down to see my SLR camera. I look next to me and see Heath locking the car, pocketing the keys before nodding his head in the direction of the underbrush.
Making our way across the highway was difficult but past that it was easy enough and soon we found ourselves standing in front of an expanse of sand and sea.
Heath kicks of his thongs and scoops them up before making his way to the water, his feet leaving large hollow prints in the sand. I tug at the white shirt clinging to my sweaty chest and lift the camera to my eye, focusing in on the waves and surpassing the beach houses and flittering over the people lazing around on the shore. The ocean was dark and calm, clearly not a surfing beach but looking off into the distance I see the outline of rocks at the base of a cliff; a clear sign that around that bend were some waves.
Lowering the camera, I take the strap from around my neck and wrap it around my wrist, leaving it to hang there as I sit myself on the deck of a beach hut. I run my fingers through my brown hair, tousling it, and kick off my thongs so I can bury my feet into the sand. It annoys most people, the sand that is. What's the point in going to the beach if you don't want to deal with sand? That's what a fucking pool's for.
I place the camera in my lap and check to make sure the lens cover is on properly before going through the memory card, deleting photo's that hadn't focused or just didn't look right. A few minutes later a shadow falls over me. Already knowing it is Heath and not needing to look up, I move across the deck to make room for him. He sits himself down next to me and I glance up from the screen to see his eyes scanning the shore line. Probably looking at the incline of rocks like I was before and mentally marking it to look at later.
His face is wet from swimming and he's wrapped his shirt around the back of his neck so it lies across his shoulders, away from the water he was in minutes ago. My female cousins are always talking about how jealous they are about how tanned my brother and I are due to spending most of our days outside. It's kind of a certainty when you're following summer around the country. For some reason, we both thrive in the heat.
The travelling started when Heath and I were younger and camping used to be our favourite time of the year. I guess when we got older it escalated into a lifestyle. At the end of every year, we'd travel up the coast in our caravan, staying at different coastal areas and swimming in different waters. Our parents used to hire us boards for the trips and dad would get us a pair of Jet Ski's for a day, if we were lucky. The first time we tried surfing we were shit and refused to do it because we didn't want to look bad in front of anyone, but every year we went back, we improved. So when I was thirteen and Heath was fifteen, we got jobs and started saving for our own boards so we could surf back home.
When Heath bought the Jeep a year later it was a taste of freedom for him. After a day at school where we sweated in our private school uniforms, he'd load our boards onto the Jeep and we'd make our way to the local beach and spend the day there. Heath left when he turned eighteen, he'd finished school and wasn't interested in sticking around so when he got the offer to stay with a friend who lived a few hours away right on the beach, he took it.
Heath would send me photos from his trips when he could be bothered and I think that's around the time I picked up photography. The money I'd saved up for a car ended up being used to buy a sturdy camera and some high quality equipment so I wouldn't have to update it all in a year. Do you know how much lenses and filters cost? Too damn much, but it gave me something to do.
I was pretty pissed back then. I'd just turned sixteen and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life when the one person I could relate with just up and leaves. I looked up to him and like I said, we were interested in most of the same things, so it was a given that I was going to be angry. He got to do whatever he wanted while I was stuck at home.
I'm not going to lie, I tried to drop out so I could travel with him and Heath, never that much of a fan on doing what's acceptable, was all for the idea. I discussed it with my parents though and we came to a deal; I keep attending school and they'll let me stay with Heath each summer and once I finish, I can leave whenever I want. I think that mum regrets that now.
Now that I look back, it was probably a good thing that Heath left. I needed to grow a backbone and I was so used to him just introducing me to people, I didn't know how to interact properly. Thankfully, the social aspects of my life grew with me and when I spent those summers with Heath where I would just walk out of the house and onto the sand, made me realise what I wanted to do; travelling. Now I'm nineteen, schools over and done with and for the first time in almost six months, I'm seeing my parents so I can help them settle into their new place.
Finishing up sorting through the photos, I look over to see Heath lying on his back, his shorts mildly dry now and skin slightly red from being in the sun too long.
Standing up, I dust my hands on my jean shorts before grabbing my shoes off the deck, "Ready to head back and get on the road?"
"Sure." Heath grunts and sits up, running his hand over his thin covering of hair, "But I'll keep on driving, another couple hours aren't going to kill me."
I nod and look out at the ocean one last time before jumping off the deck and walking across the sand towards the shrubbery again. I hear Heath curse behind me as he chucks his shoes on and has to jog across the sand to catch up with me. We make quick work of the undergrowth and get to the highway where I bite out a few curse words due to the hot tar burning my shoeless feet. Heath jogs past me laughing so I piff my shoes at him, hitting him in the back of the head making him swerve and exclaim, "Fuck!"
Heaths already in the car by the time I'd gathered my shoes off the highway and made my way over. I groan when I open the door, not looking forward to the rest of the trip and slide myself onto the leather seat. Heath grunts in agreement and pulls back onto the highway, both of us flipping the sun visors down to block out the sun we were driving directly towards.
When I asked my parents why they'd decided to move, mum replied that the house was too big for them without us men taking up the room, so they decided to downsize and move to an area where there's constant warm weather. Heaths and my joke is that it's mums way of luring us back home, which is probably true. I think one of the reasons why I haven't visited them yet is because it's still too soon. I just left and they're both still holding out hope that one day I'll change my mind and decide to go to college. I guess that's my fault since I never told them outright it wouldn't happen. I'm not interested but they know Heath's a lost cause so onto the next son I guess. Even though Heath and I have changed a lot over the time we've been gone, I still hold the same ideals and aspirations as I did and my brother still needs a few brain cells knocked back into his head.
People say that we're pretty lucky we get along as well as we do, especially with the age difference between us, but I guess in a lot of ways we're alike. Although at times our differences are blaringly obvious. Like how Heath's never understood why I like photography. He'd asked, what's so appealing about seeing things through glass? Anyways, he's always been better at just living in the moment than I am. When I go somewhere new, I can't help the need to observe it before I can really appreciate it.
Anyways, appearance wise the only things we have in common is that we're both brown skinned and moderately fit and tall. Heath has wider shoulders than me due to regularly working at a building site down the road. He usually gets hired out for day when they need an extra pair of hands but sometime last month a guy on site turned out to have some heart problems so they called Heath in for long term and got used to him.
He also used to have dark ringlets until, one morning when I sat down for breakfast and noticed he'd shaved it a few inches from his head before leaving for work. I didn't ask why he did it and to tell you the truth, I don't really care. I just assumed he was lazy and didn't want to bother with the upkeep. Mine on the other hand is almost chin length, long enough so it slightly curls around my neck. Ever since I started travelling though my hair's been unkempt and bleached a lighter brown thanks to spending my time outdoors working as a life guard.
Two hours later we're relieved to finally pull into the driveway of our parents' new home. Heath pushes the horn, signalling to our parents to say we're here before we open our doors and get out of the car. As Heath goes around to the back of the car and grabs his bags, I take notice of the white weatherboard house. It's one story, in good condition with blue shutters and a large garden which probably won the thumbs up from mum.
"Stop day dreaming, boy, and help your brother carry your bags into the house."
I look back towards the house and see dad walk through the front doorway, his hair looking a little greyer and his solid build still hanging in there. The old man's going to get a gut someday; I just have to wait a while longer until I got something on him.
"Stop nagging, old man. We didn't drive for several hours to hear your drunken comments."
Roland Blake laughs and makes his way over to his son to clasp his shoulder, surprised by the smart assed reply he usually only hears from his eldest. "I can see Heath's already rubbing off on you. All that heat hasn't melted away your brain, has it?"
Heath's smiling when he makes his way around the car and greets dad with a hand shake, "In Jules's case, he'd need a brain first."
Dad just laughs again and walks to the back of the car with me to grab the rest of our bags. A couple in each hand we all head into the house, revelling in the air conditioned hallway before letting dad take the lead and show us to our rooms.
"Your mum's out grocery shopping, so she'll be back soon." He shakes his head as we walk down another hallway before leading us into the first room on the right. "Knowing her, she's going to be upset about missing your arrival. Anyway, this is one of the rooms so one of you boys, get yourself set up in here. You both have an en suite each so it's one less thing to worry about."
Heath and I look at each other and I shrug, indicating with my head he can take the room and I'll take the other. Dad leads me out of the room when Heath put's his bags down and takes me to the room on the left. It looks nearly identical to the other and I take notice of the doors indicating the en suite but I also see another pair with the blinds pulled so I can't make out what's on the other side.
"There a deck out there or something?" I ask, nodding in the direction of the two doors in question.
"Yeah, a private decking area you can take advantage of. Just don't tell your brother or we'll have to listen to him moan about you getting the better room."
There was no doubt Heath would. Getting on our nerves was something he was good at. He enjoyed it.
"Thanks dad." I clap a hand onto his shoulder and smile, "It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you too, son. Now, get your stuff un-packed and by the time you get to the kitchen there'll be a scotch waiting for you."
When he walks out of the room, I make my way over to the doors and wind up the blinds to let some light in. Unlocking the doors, I push them open and walk onto the medium sized deck surrounded by trees and a wooden fence which partially blocks the view from the neighbours. I stand there for a while, looking past the wooden fence at the house beyond it. It is one story and a weatherboard like my parents house, but instead of being built along the street it runs length wise so it faces its neighbours.
The one thing that caught my eye though was the giant pool in front of it surrounded by limestone paving stones. Or maybe it is who's in it.
She's standing on the edge of the pool wearing a white bikini, leaving her long, tanned limbs and flat stomach bare to my eyes. At the moment she's sweeping her waist length blonde hair into a bun, un-aware that I'm standing only a few metres away watching over the fence. I can't help but wonder if this deck was made just so the person living here could watch her. What man could resist watching that?
My eyes never leave her as she dives into the pool, her back arching and arms stretched upwards as if in prayer. The instant she goes under though, my senses come back to me and I reluctantly pull my eyes away and head back into my room to un-pack. Looks like I'll need that scotch after all.