Sep 14
Yellow Sweater's picture

The Sun Was Hot and the Night Was Full of Strawberries

The sun was hot. It burned my skin and made my insides buzz. The drink in my hand decorated the heat, like rouge on red cheeks. I wore a bathing suit that revealed the flat brown of my belly. I could see my curves. I was aware of my body: the many faceted dance my mouth muscles performed, the way my feet flexed in response to the ocean's movement. I could sense that my eyes were twinkling and my brows were vivaciously stretched. I noticed these things in a lazy careless way; I knew my every movement was perfect. 

I grinned quick and easy at the sea, leaping into the water. Suddenly submerged into the salty surf, I laughed. The tips of my fingers touched the end where the blue met a different blue. After swimming I bought ice cream, plain, sweet, nothing added. The sun slowly diminished in size and with it my craving for ice cream. I could feel things in the dusk, not just my body, but the almost cool sand, the almost calm water and the purple light on its way to turning grey.   

There were others still on the beach; some smiling, some wearing expressions of contemplation. The people brightened the somber color of the sky. I was happy to be around them. I was happy to simply catch their gaze then let it slide away. When it became too cold I left, abandoning the beach for a place better suited to the many wonders of summer nights.

I found a garden. The red blossoms were hugged by moonlight, but anything less brilliant was obscured by night. I sat down beneath a tree, I could smell the beer that had drifted in from a nearby tavern. It mingled with the salt on my skin. I felt the shiver of my silk dress. It matched the color of the grass. I was awake enough to notice the tall brick walls, the dusty pieces of unwatered ground, and the small sky filled with stars. But it was dark enough and I had enough sleep in me that the edges made by these parallels were less abrupt, this softness fostered infinity. There were whole worlds hidden in the shadows. I smiled with each exhale, not knowing where my breath went. 

“Do you want a strawberry?”  

I looked down startled. The voice was quiet, but defied size.  

“Do you want a strawberry?”

 I nodded hesitantly. I did want a strawberry. 

It laughed. “Come and find it.”  

The voice came from bright red night blossoms and jam jar stars; what could I do but follow it? First I searched the garden. No strawberries. There was a tangle of raspberries, but they were small and green, city berries that had grown in the shade. In my state, I even searched the ground looking for buried berries. But the only glimmer of red were the fool's gold blossoms. I left the garden, wandering to the market. It was closed, the big fluorescent light had blinked out hours ago. The stars couldn't reach through the roof, so even the red of would-be strawberries was cold and black.  The smell of something sweet and clear touched my nose. It was stronger than the beer after-breath that accented the garden. The smell was present and burning, maybe the soul of a dying strawberry. I twirled towards the mellow lights and open door of the bar across the street, joining the dancing of others. They had apple, grape and honey essence, but no strawberries.

I wandered back to the beach. I sat down, cupping a handful of sand. I let it slip through my fingers as I fell to my back. The night was cold and wide and the stars were distant. I pressed myself into the sand. A strange light seeped through the cracks in the darkness, coming from everywhere and nowhere; the moon doesn't resemble the sun until the darkness fills you up. That's when I found it. My strawberry, glowing in the big round moon’s illumination of everything, of all the moments.