ripe

Photo by Angie Shenouda

By Angie Shenouda

is this one ready? i ask but i think i know the answer. 

she tilts her head. hmmm. i don’t know… maybe. 

i’ve never seen a peach look so perfect, a warm sunset on fuzzy skin, orange yellows reds in harmony as if birthed by delicate brush strokes. not a dent on its surface. i don’t even want to pluck it, to taste it. it looks like it’s meant to be high up on this tree forever. 

i stand there debating in silence for twenty two seconds too long, i see movement in the corner of my eye. she’s waiting for me. she starts to make her way towards our blanket on the grass a few feet away, peaches in her pockets, taking small steps to buy me more time. i feel the impatience in my peripherals as she glares at me. our sandwiches are waiting, our lemonade is waiting, she’s waiting

and she’s still waiting. and i’m hungry. so fuck it i reach upward and wrap my hand around the fruit, hairy skin tickling my fingerprints. just a gentle squeeze on each side and the stem swiftly breaks off the branch in a satisfying snap, no hesitation. to my suprise the peach is in my palm now, a trophy of decision. 

i force myself to join her now on the soft blanket, in the sun, where we laugh and eat and drink and sit close enough to look each other in the eye. and when it’s finally time for dessert, i pick up the sunset. i force my teeth to break through the smooth surface, dig deep into flesh, and despite the promising effortless departure from the branch i still anticipate a hard crunch. a bitter mouthful. 

but it’s soft

easier than i ever dreamed. juices trickle down my chin, my taste buds have never danced sweeter.

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