Mauricio de Braga wiped gritty sweat from his brow. It had been hotter, he knew it had, but at the moment, that seemed impossible. The clay earth burned his bare feet as he fought the plow through the molten earth.
“A little hotter,” he thought, his mind as hazy as the waves that danced on the field’s surface, “and I’ll bake like a pot.” His mind wandered to the kiln that his uncle owned.
How he’d sit and watch the kiln’s open mouth. His mind wandered then too. He used to imagine that the orange glow was a gateway into the world of Telacta, the god of death and fire. Mauricio de Braga never worried that he’d go blind staring at the inferno like his uncle warned. But then again, Mauricio de Braga had never been one to listen.
That’s why he bought a farm so close to the hungry jungle.
That’s why he waited too long to plant and drank away the cooler spring.
That’s why he refused to get married to plain-looking girl his parents approved of, and ran after Esmirla instead, the girl with the painted eyes that stared into his sole and the walk that made him forget to breathe.
That’s why he was baking now.
There was a reason the priest hadn’t named him prudence.
That day had been hot too.