Summertime and we’re blinking back the sting of the sweat invading our eyes, too silly for hats and too proud to admit the pain. We’re golden skin and bright intentions and glorious irresponsibility. Hours trapped inside the car have made us eager to stretch our limbs, but instead we’re hunched down in the fields, too embarrassed to think that it’s a minor miracle the day’s gone without rain. These crops are open to anyone who will pay, but we act as though the earth has offered up this bounty for us and us alone, our fingertips tripping over the berries that have swollen with promise. There are always a few that have already become full to bursting, or our fingers slip as laughter vibrates through our bodies.
(The best laugh is a clumsy one, one that renders you incapable of keeping your eyes open our your body steady. The kind that would be embarrassing if it weren’t contagious.)
Our fingers are stained with colors that cannot be replicated by man, rich red and purple so dark you’d nearly consider it the ink of night. We laugh at our imaginary scars and the way they’ve crept onto our clothes, as though we’ve been through any sort of hardship. Lunch was forgotten two hours previous, so we sit in the car with our baskets and reach our arms out the windows to catch more sun as we decide to darken our lips next. The first bite is a surprise as the berries erupt between our teeth, still warm from the sun and less sweet than expected. We look at one another and laugh, our mouths mockingly blue red purple to keep the sound going. People surely drive past and wonder about the couple pulled to the side of the road. Maybe they don’t, because here time has stopped and we are free.