Perfect spitting swan dive

"Just a little nap in the sun," I said, sneaking off to the deck to crank up the sunshade and recline on a deck chair. No nap yet, but it's a few hours later, and I think the miles of this week are rolling off of me like beads of sweat.

Could be worse. At least it's not hot out here.

I am out here with my olives and my artichokes, scooping up tasty bits with my right hand and cradling my book in my left. I suck the liquor of artichoke and olive off my fingers before turning the page, but the scent of earthy, flinty fruit clings to my fingertips. The oil from the artichokes has slicked my hands, making this slim black pen difficut to hold.

  • 9 o'clock: tangelo. Uneaten.
  • 11 o'clock: Current salacious novel.
  • 1 o'clock: Drink. Caffeinated. One swallow remaining.
  • 3 o'clock: Plastic tub. 6 kalamatas (unpitted) and one artichoke heart still available for nibbling.

I called a friend in a smaller, more sunlit hour, letting my eyes create imaginary patterns from nearby foliage while vainly attempting to conjure a cabana boy bearing margaritas. That failing, I settled for a drowsy chat while watching the shadowplay of my toes wriggling aimlessly in still-new sandals, occasionally interrupted by the need to shift my chair to shield my eyes from the slowly sinking light.

"But where are your sunglasses?" he asked.

"Oh..." I thought, and then I stopped. "Somewhere."

Silly, lazy me. I've eaten all the pitted olives, because they took less work, and now my only recourse for satiating my olive craving is to eat the unpitted olives. I'll tuck the pit behind my teeth, chew the olive, and then lean over a bit and send the olive pit through the rails of the deck and crashing down to the leaves below in a perfect spitting swan dive.

Southern girls aren't supposed to spit like that, but nobody's looking.

What olive scent I cannot lick away will wind up scenting the pockets of my shorts. The tangelo will last as long as the north Atlanta insect life will leave me alone. I know that, at some point, absorbed in my book, I will forget to lick my fingers before raking my hand through my hair. I will then return to my book, feet dangling over the end of the ottoman, my hair newly untangled but faintly sticky with the scent of olives, until the sun and the sound of the cicadas cover my best literary intentions with the quiet haze of a badly-needed Saturday nap.


If an olive tree starts growing off my blaming you.