I brought a nectarine with me to work in my lunch today and now I’m reluctant to eat it. There is nothing wrong with it. It is perfectly formed, deeply colored and absolutely ripe.
And it smells amazing.
It is sitting on my desk, to the left of my keyboard. My office window is open and with each gentle nudge of the breeze, the fragrance of my nectarine drifts right to my nose. When that becomes too much of a tease, I pick it up, cradle it in both hands and tuck my nose into the space where the stem had been. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.
I am seven years old and sitting on a white painted glider on the brick patio out behind our house in Eagle Rock. My parents were at work, and Lucy was babysitting. In addition to nectarines, a yellow enamel colander full of cherries rested on the white metal outdoor table. Lucy was 16 years old at the time, and talking on our brand new cordless phone to a friend. I sat, listening to her conversation and wishing deeply to be as cool and grown up as she.
I’m standing in front of the sink in the house my family lived in when I was in high school. There are peaches and nectarines lined up on the window sill in front of me, ripening in the afternoon sun.
It’s three years ago and my first summer in Philadelphia. I stood in my kitchen, making nectarine cobbler for my aunt, uncle and cousins, while they visited from Hawaii.
Where does the nectarine take you?