New York City, August 22, 2017

★★ Dawn laid its rosy fingers on the glass tower across the way and then scrabbled to hang on, as vague blurry clouds kept impeding the open sun. The river was fouled in a soft-colored haze. Heat crept in through the windows unless every air conditioner was on, and it lurked in the hall and elevator. The first breath out of doors was like pulling in a stream of water from a hot hose. Atop the other smells on the sidewalk was the plain reek of sweat. The thunderstorms in the forecast kept receding, so it was useless to try to plan around them. The heat was as hot as it could be without being sensational. Finally, long after dark, the streets were wet. For a while the noise of the air conditioner drowned out the storm, but lighting flared through the blinds, one burst of it so bright it seemed to be coming from the bedroom ceiling.