Fast Friends

I had a cozy little house out in the country.  All my relatives came over for a Sunday afternoon get together.  It was a warm July day.  The place had a busy feel about it.  All the windows were open, and the screen door groaned on its hinges as everybody kept going in and out.  There was something going on in every room.  I came across my aunts sitting around the table in the kitchen.  I walked in on the middle of their conversation and got into a small argument about the way one of them had used the saying “apples and oranges” incorrectly.  She seemed to think that it meant to make something look bad by comparing it to something similar but better.  “Well, they’re both fruits,” she replied, when I tried to explain the mistake. It was one of those kinds of arguments that keep doubling back on themselves and everyone’s points become more convoluted and nothing gets resolved but it ends with everyone laughing.

So I walked off shaking my head and went out onto the side porch of the house.  I could see that my neighbors had dug up a shaded patch of ground in their back yard in order to lay a foundation for a swimming pool.  All the kids, the ones from my family and the neighbors’ kids as well, all sat around the edge of this pit, fascinated, as though they were going to be able to swim later that same afternoon.  They kicked their dangling legs against the loose dirt, their flip-flops hanging by a toe.  A green leaf drifted down into the pit, prematurely fallen from the branches above.  The shadow of a cloud rippled through the grass in the small field between the two houses.

My cousin came along side me and nodded towards the kids across the yard.  “They all became friends as soon as they heard about that pool.  That’s all it takes with kids.”  I smiled at that and went back inside to the clicking sound of someone stacking washed dishes in the rack beside the sink and all the commotion around the TV in the living room.  It was a nice lazy day, no troubles, life flowing as easy as the breeze.

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7 thoughts on “Fast Friends

  1. “The shadow of a cloud rippled through the grass in the open field between the two houses.” Beautifully described, but it can only be in a dream that a field suddenly appears between the houses, where moments earlier it was 'towny' back yards. I loved the atmosphere of this dream.

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  2. Actually, the dream was set (at least in part) in the rural village of Perry, Ohio where I lived years ago, and which I dream of often. And although that houses did have somewhat “towny” back yards, there was a small open field between the neighbor's house and mine. And you could still see the neighbor's yard pretty clearly across the way (except that I didn't have a side porch. That seems to have come from elsewhere. But it's a welcome renovation, nonetheless.)

    Hmm, perhaps I should specify that it was small field.

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  3. Thanks. I was kind of fretting over whether I was conveying the right idea. I can see how “field” suggests something bigger than what I had in mind. I thought of changing it to “lot” but that suggests something kind of dumpy and ugly to my mind, and also a bit more urban or suburban for this setting. “Yard” was a possibly, but there was already some talk of yards and it seemed like that would confuse the matter.

    So much in a word!

    And I find your interpretation interesting. Hope your right 😉

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  4. Ha! Yeah, I had one of those kinds of arguments once about how the X and Y chromosomes got dispersed (my opponent insisting that the males get two Y's just as the females get two X's.) Come to think of it, that one didn't end in laughter, either.

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