We sat in this same room, me and Ruth, before she moved away. We were friends, and we were on the edge of something that owned too much sky.
A rainy day with the crocuses in crazy bloom, popping colors on the porch. Weaved baskets filled with tomatoes on the kitchen counter, Mom and Connie peeling and preserving all afternoon. You could smell the soil from the corn field, and the dirt always made its way onto the welcome mat, and sometimes straight into the kitchen if you didn’t wipe your feet. Hazy music pouring through the Philco, something with a lot of twang, but too low to hear the words, or the singer. Summer in a lazy mood.
And we sat on the edge of my bed, listening to the rain patter on the roof, talking about nothing special: the chores ahead, the days behind, the mysteries of our age. And then she kissed the side of my neck, her lips pressing lightly, like a physical whisper. So unexpected, so unprepared for how it made my blood simmer, my face flush, my veins fill with cool air. A soft kiss, one of affection, and more.
And then she stood up, brushed away any wrinkles in her skirt, and went downstairs to see if Mom and Connie needed any help cutting up the tomatoes.