In the summer, when it rains, the most beautiful spider lilies spring up out of nowhere and are gone just as quickly the next day.
I like to go outside in my backyard and gather figs from my tree by folding them into the edge of a long t-shirt. I like to think of the t-shirt as a fig parachute. I get sad when I drop one. A fig, not the shirt-chute.
My neighbor, Marion, can't pick his crabapples fast enough, so my back yard smells like fermented cider. I talked to him about the abundance of fruit on his tree, and he looked sad. "People used to pick them and make jelly out of them, dry them, preserve them anyway they could. Not anymore." For some reason, when he says this, I feel responsible. I hate crabapples.
Marion takes a gigantic fig the size of a silver dollar and shoves it at me. "Eat it," he demands. I can't tell him that, for some reason, I'm convinced that all figs harbor worms. I imagine biting into the sweet purple flesh and chomping onto a grub, and I repress a shiver. "I have to eat them only after I've split them with a knife," I tell him. He narrows his eyes at me and says "EAT IT!" but I won't.
I take Marion some basil from my new "winter basil" plant I bought from the farmer's market. It's starting to take on a likeness to Seymour -- I swear I came in on it singing and gyrating lewdly the other day -- so I had to clip it. I was so happy to return Marion's kindness (he always brings tomatoes) but when I handed him the basil and smiled at him he said, "What is it?" "Basil," I repeated. "I don't know nothing about no bagels," he grunted. "Not bagels," I tried to say clearly. "BASIL. The herb. It goes on tomatoes." "I don't know nothing about no BASIL," he said, equally loudly. "Put it on your tomatoes," I said, emphatically poking the bright red fruit sitting behind him. He eyed me dubiously -- perhaps he thought I was trying to poison him -- and said something that sounded like "thanks," but I don't think he meant it.
I spend too long in my study reading about epistolary novels and decide to do an experiment. I send a text message to my friend and my sister in law that says, "When I say Hilshire, You say Farms! Hilshire, Farms!" Andrew thinks, in their wonderment, they'll write me to ask what substance I'm abusing. Instead, both of them reply, "GO MEAT!" In a very small and bizarre way, I feel contentedly understood by people who love me.
I've decided what makes an adult, an adult. Lamps. I think if you have lamps in your house that you don't need -- lamps that just make a room cozy -- then you've arrived. Each time I walk past the small, warm, earth-colored lamps in my bedroom, I have to take a quick breath. It looks like Mom's house, only it's mine. When did that happen?