You Say Tomato

They wait at the corner, behind the picket fences that do less to protect their property and more to support the wild roses than any fences really should. Clad in ancient calico, with their white hair covered by straw hats, they work the soil, with serene smiles on their weathered faces.

They are always slightly built, but their arms are lean and strong, and on their feet are sturdy shoes, and stockings that have fallen down to reveal legs mapped with varicose veins. Their eyes are masks; behind their wide-open stares they could be plotting to take over the world, one batch of cookies at a time, or just re-writing their Christmas lists, putting whichever grandchild is 'in favor' at that moment, at the top of the list.

They carry with them the co-mingled scents of sun and soil, and Chanel No. 5, the latter spritzed on quickly, every morning, more from habit than anything else. They wear lipstick, but generally no other make-up.

They wait at the corner, and hold out bags of sun-ripened tomatoes, and ask, âœWouldn't you like to take some home, dearie? I just picked them this morning.â

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 You Say Tomato by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.