bonny_kate: (kaylee)
I would really like strawberries from the strawberry stand, or for Joel to be here, or (most heavenly thought) strawberries and Joel. I would, at this moment, settle for either. I can't have strawberries because the stand is closed until an indeterminate time, and I can't have Joel here because of the two and a half hour drive. I'm not complaining, because the strawberry stand will open (and the berries will be incomparable) and I will see Joel on Saturday (and there will be Shakespeare, which makes it doubly wonderful), I'm just saying that at this moment I'm craving strawberries.
bonny_kate: (kaylee)
When you come visit me in the balmy spring, we shall buy strawberries. I will drive you in my dark green car, the radio turning more to static and less to music, past the train tracks and almond orchards. You will see the signs, neat red letters on white boards, before we are there. The strawberry patch will suddenly be there, just past the housing development and the dilapidated wooden building, falling to pieces and picturesque. The strawberry shed will be there, sitting a little lopsided, the prices sitting crookedly on the sign in the darkness above the counter. We will wait there, on the little ramp, while they pick more strawberries in the patch behind the shed. We will wait lazily, you and I, in the warm spring air with the scent of strawberries in the air.

The man will hand us our three baskets, his hands stained red, the baskets overflowing with berries, in exchange for the tattered bill. I will hand you those strawberries in their cardboard box, and you must hold them carefully, for they are trying to tumble off to join their fallen brothers in the dust. We have a nobler purpose for those strawberries, you and I.

We will drive back to my house, you holding the strawberries on your lap, the scent drifting dreamily to fill the car, the unmistakable scent of warm strawberries. You will think to yourself that you have never really smelled strawberries before, for these smell sweet, and fresh, warm, and red and impossibly wonderful. A few will fall out of the basket and onto your lap as we drive across the railroad tracks.

When we reach my house, I will slice the strawberries for you, the table knife slipping effortlessly through perfect strawberries. They will be perfect, not empty or white or pale in the middle, but deep red all through, and the juices will begin to stain my fingers. They are soft, and the knife slips through them more easily than store bought, but do not fear, for they are not overripe, except for one.

I will give you your bowl of strawberries, the crimson against the white the perfect color of spring, and you can eat them with your fork. I have not sugared them, and I will assure you that you need no sugar. You will slip the first warm strawberry into your mouth.

It will slip away on your tongue, not melting, the perfect texture, not too hard like a pear, nor too soft as ice cream. The flavor and juice will fill your mouth, and you will smile. You will not, I think, savor those first bites as you should, but when you have slowed and your craving begins to be satisfied you will taste them more, letting the flavor linger. You will think to yourself that you have never truly tasted strawberries before, everything else has been a pale imitation of this. Yet these strawberries will not exactly be sweeter, or less sweet, but indescribably more like a strawberry, somehow.

They will be the best strawberries you have ever tasted, when you come visit me in the spring.

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Kate Saunders Britton

April 2017

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