Being with Georgette #3
Georgette said, “This is the apple tree I fell out of when I was a child.”
I said, “It looks smaller than it did back then.”
She said, “We’ve grown. It’s been pruned.”
“Where is the large stone you fell on?”
“My father put it in the garden, but later you carried it down to the bridge and dropped it in the river.”
“I don’t remember doing that.”
Georgette said, “It was when you weren’t well.”
I said, “Oh.”
Georgette moved from the apple tree to the swing hanging under the long arm of the oak tree.
I said, “Don’t sit in it, the rope is as old as we are.”
Georgette sat in it. She began to swing.
She said, “Come join me.”
I said, “I weigh four times what I did the last time I sat in it.”
Georgette slowed the swing and made room for me on the double-sized board.
The rope had broken and we lay in a tangle in the shade of the oak tree. The grass against my face smelled of summer.
I said, “We could have hurt your other leg.”
Georgette stood, brushed herself off, and walked across the yard to the picnic table.
I studied her limp, but it was no worse than usual, no worse than it had been since she recovered from her fall from the apple tree long ago.
Georgette said, “Why are you looking at me like that. Are you getting ideas?”
I said, “I’m lusting after your potato salad.”
“The chicken is still cold.”
“That’s the way I like it.”
I grabbed the frayed rope still dangling from the branch above and pulled myself up, half-expecting the limb to break off and brain me.
Georgette laughed again as I hadn’t heard her laugh in years.
She said, “Come eat.”
I went and ate, and I ate with the appetite of a growing boy.