Blackberry Nights


The restrained warmth of May has passed and we are in the wild, reckless blackberry nights when the moon is huge and lazy and the clouds fly slowly like wisps of ghosts over the Southern humidity.  There are cherries and strawberries and watermelons and, most importantly, cups and cups of blackberries and I eat all of them in one sitting and they feel like little juicy grenades as black as the shimmering heat.

Sometimes, in the mornings the sun comes up steamy and hot and playful and full of opportunity and my mind runs with it, right into the Potomac River, over the city and my heart soars.

The morning shadows make me want to sit for hours in a library,in a sunny nook, reading my summer reading assignments, which I’ve already read, and then run outside barefoot for ice cream from the truck, dripping on my knees.  The shade is dappled and I walk to work with a sigh.

image

These days are languid and even my hair is limp, lifeless, waiting for when the lightning bugs come out.  But even then, the heat does not break on these blackberry nights.  I become moody and feel adrift and that I will never moor my anchor to anything,  and D and I go outside to run against the humidity.  We make it half a mile and then slow down, walking, hand in hand, down a street overflowing with magnolias and I talk about how I want to live in every house on that street, and D says his usual line about how he’ll start to work at a hedge fund so we can live there and we both laugh because we know that we don’t care whether we get that house.  We’re not keeping up with anyone but ourselves, and time is on our side.

All of a sudden the rain starts falling and at first I want to drink it, but then it becomes too heavy, and we stand under a tree, becoming moist in the silence. D stands under a tree and, since I’m short, I stand under D, and it’s just the two of us and the steady drip of the rain.  I keep wanting to dance in the rain and laugh like in the movies, but we’re both just quiet and our sneakers become heavier.

I want to remember this moment forever, of how we are young and it’s just the two of us and we can do anything we decide-we can buy the house with the magnolias, we can fly to Israel, we can work at hedge funds or open a collie rescue.  I try to take a picture, but all I get is the gleaming black pavement and not the expression on our faces.  It’s a picture that can only stay in my mind.

When we walk back to our apartment, the rain ends and the clouds part, and the earth smells fresh and I can imagine  worms burrowing in the damp tanbark and the heat is chased back for another day and my mood has shifted with the clouds.

I change out of my wet clothes and wash myself another bowl of blackberries.