Grapes

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Light played through metal links as I walked along the fence. Above my small frame towered a wall of wide leaves. Vines grew thick and gnarled around the ground. I reached a hand and touched rough wood.

“Michael!” Beyond a sea of grass, my mother’s voice echoed from the porch. I turn my head, blinded by the sun.

Something soft brushed my tiny hand. I thrust my fist under a shifting leaf, touching a cluster of something new. Pulling back a vine I find my hand cradling a tangle of emerald spheres.

Wet, my hand is wet.

“Michael! Where are you?”

Sweetness pervades the air around me, and I can’t help but pull tender fruit from its home. I giggle as some of the sphere’s burst between my pudgy fingertips. And then I’m bring it all to my mouth, under my nose.

It doesn’t give at first when I bite, but then it does. Skin breaking between my teeth I feel flesh of the fruit explode in my mouth. Tangy sweet juice made my jaw ache.

Someone’s running through the grass now, yelling. “Michael don’t you be eating Grandpa’s grapes!”

. . .

Even as an adult I can still remember the smell of my grandparent’s back yard. I remember being a foot taller than their grass. Even as a toddler, I helped my grandfather pick grapes for my grandmother to juice.

Now it all takes place in my in-laws backyard. Except it’s me calling for my son, George, because he’s eaten half the bush.

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