His job was to peel and quarter the fallen apples from the lawn, take the sun-bathed laundry off the line, and place a little crate beside the hammock so she would have someplace sturdy to rest her glass. Her job, though sometimes protested, was to simply be his girl. To be the beneficiary of these small acts of love.
She watched his boyish lips move as he talked to himself over the bowl, carving out seeds and bruises. Honey bees crawled over sedum plants with their emergent tiny pink blooms. From an altitude of the purest blue, a small white jet moved in the direction of Spain. That was the future, faraway.
In the here and now, the hammock swayed.
Birdlife was silent but industrious. Occasionally a flock of sparrows would make a break for it, darting in a tribe from one shrub to the safety of the next. A gull would fly overhead, going east, then a few minutes later, another would contrarily head west. Then, three hummingbirds dipped in and out of the cedars.
“It’s probably a family that hasn’t separated yet,” he said from the bowl.
The German lady next door stepped out on her porch. She wiped her hands on her apron, calling attention to what she had witnessed. This morning two boys had bolted into the yard, snatched some fruit off the tree, and raced away. The little scoundrels!
The girl cast a long, studied look at the compact tree with the prized red apples.
The tree was motionless, a still life painting. The apples held tight to their posts, soaking in the razor heat of late afternoon. Conserving for the long, cold drink promised when he would come out at dusk with the hose.
The dog rolled onto her back, paws bent, nose in clover.
Maybe they won’t be back, she thought. Then with stolen hope, Maybe they will.
He didn’t raise his eyes from the sly smile of the bowl.
She turned and noticed the gate swung open at the top of the driveway, exposing the tree in clear view. His job was to close the gate.
Small white butterflies moved between the verbena. The daisies bobbed their heads up and down, yes, yes.
Karin Hedetniemi is a writer and street photographer in Victoria, BC. She’s inspired by ordinary beauty in quiet places. Her creative work is published/forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Moria, Sky Island Journal, Barren Magazine, and other journals. Karin won the 2020 nonfiction prize from the Royal City Literary Arts Society. Find her at AGoldenHour.com.