The peach is soft. It is soft and buzz-fuzzed and perfect, and it is still warm in my hands. It reminds me of my daughter—the way her hair grew in after it all fell out, pale blond and furry.
Like Sally, this peach is not just any peach. It is a Peach—our peach, our first peach, a peach that we made from water and sweat, from scratch. It is the one peach that came from the hundreds of pink blossoms that burst out this spring, the one peach from all the compost and mulch and watering. It is hairy and yellow and blushing, and we think it’s perfect, stunning.
We’ve been eating other people’s peaches all season. We’ve made peach pie and peach shortcake and we’ve frozen jars of sweet slices in syrup for safekeeping. We get our peaches at the farmers market in Orleans, and I cut them in half—one for me, one for Sally. We sit in the back yard in our bathing suits in the sun, and Sally understands that with peaches there is no bib wearing. If a drip runs down your chin, you lick it up. You use your chubby little finger if it hits your tummy.
One day when it rained, we made peach cobbler. Sally sat on the kitchen floor banging whisks and bowls and little stainless spoons, directing her imaginary symphony. I stirred together peaches and honey, a little bit of flour, cut butter into flour for a biscuit topping. The fruit cooked until it was boiling, bubbling. The pastry on top turned soft, then golden. It was perfect—fruit sweet and topping buttery.
If I had a whole tree full of peaches, I would cook them all down with biscuit topping. But this is only one peach—not enough for a recipe. It feels perfectly ripe, sweet, heavy. The sun’s out, and Alex and Sally are home, and hungry.
And so I think I’ll cut it into thirds and we’ll eat it—on the back deck, warm, juices dripping.
Elspeth Hay lives in Wellfleet.
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