My 8-year-old strides up in a leopard skirt, pink sequined sandals, and her swim top—the one with the real coquilles sewn on.
"J'ai fait mon lit," she reports. She has also swept the floor of the séjour and, without my asking, she has watered the begonias, the tomatoes, and the thirsty peach tree. She must want something.
"Je peux avoir une pêche, maman?"
I look out the window to the fruit-laden pêcher—thirteen peaches this year! But shouldn't they be bigger than the fuzzy orange balls hanging from the branches?
"I think we should leave them," I decide. "They're not ripe yet."
"But it is the first day of summer!" my daughter pleads.
It is hard to resist her enthusiasm, all the more so when I think of the amusing scene I witnessed yesterday. Jackie was standing beneath the little tree, her nose pressed to a peach. She wasn't allowed to pick the fruit, but no one said she couldn't inhale it!
"Who ate all the peaches?" I shout.
Max and Jackie point fingers at each other. Jackie swears she's eaten only two. As for Max, he's halfway to the front gate, about to take off down the street.
"You ate NINE peaches?" I scream, chasing after him.
"But most of them were on the ground already!" Max hollers back.
I am lying on the couch, a small peach cradled between my nose and upper lip. I don't dare eat it, but I can inhale it. Earlier, Jackie had tiptoed into the living room with the fuzzy peace offering. The little peach is soft and warm, and the chaleur sends a strong fruity infusion into chaque narine, calming me and sending images of would-have-been delights: peaches 'n cream... peach pie...warm peach soup... peach cobbler....
The aromatic smorgasbord fills me up, until my evil plan (involving next year's peach harvest and the aiming of a fresh-baked pie toward two little thieves' faces) disappears—as fast as the fruit had vanished, there on our little peach tree.
Je peux avoir une pêche, Maman?
May I have a peach, Mom?
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