It is 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning in a residential neighborhood. The sole figure in town walks purposefully up the steep hill, the final stretch of her 3-mile walk. She is sweating profusely despite the early hour, her seemingly solid plan of getting her workout done before the heat and humidity set in, now seems laughable. She, however, is not laughing. She is grimacing. She despises working out but her stubbornness serves her well in this aspect of her life, and she does it anyway. Only a handful of cars have passed since she started this trek, people are sleeping in, the temperatures preventing activities as if it were a snow day. No dogs bark as they usually do when she dares to set foot on their street, even the birds are quiet. Each step is torturous and the whirring of central air conditioning and window units taunts her. She can imagine the coolness were she to walk in the front door of any of the homes she passes. It only makes her hotter. And madder.
Then, from one of the houses across the street, the ultimate blow.
She smells bacon.
The woman knows life can be cruel. In a two-year period, her beloved healthy mother died quickly after cancer busted the myth that she was well. Her husband was hit with a cardiac crisis that could have easily killed him. Her father-in-law died tragically during an outpatient procedure. She has woken up blind. But her favorite breakfast meat wafting through the air as she prays for the pain to stop, the nightmare to be over, may be the thing that finally breaks her.