By GABY WEAVER
As I lift my head from the crook of your neck, the soft lines of your face, the crumpled blanket, and the brick wall snap into focus. And there’s nothing I can do to stop myself from breaking into a smile, planting a kiss on your forehead, and whispering, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” You laugh, squeeze me tighter, and I melt back into the blankets, back into you.
Light banter characterizes our first conversation. I argue that we should spend the rest of our lives in this twin-size bed while you remind me of the pastries and live music that await us at the farmer’s market.
You always have the upper hand. While you’re alert from the moment you wake, tiredness wells under my eyes and seeps into my voice. So, of course, you sway me in the end (because I never would have given in otherwise…).
After a couple of “c’mon, c’mon”s, I toss the blanket aside and walk to my dresser. Pulling on sweaters, we step outside into the breeze. It takes me a moment to acclimate—the crisp air snaps me out of my lethargic state. I wrap my fingers around yours and quicken the pace.
We’ve stepped out of the campus bubble, immersing ourselves in the heart of the New England town. A circle of tents displaying soaps, baked goods, earrings, and other treats fill the lawn. I smile at Amy, the florist at Many Graces, where I bought you chrysanthemums a couple weeks ago. The sweet smell of cider draws my attention to the Park Hill Orchard stand. Your eyes are glued to the different apple varieties, meticulously inspecting each one. Honeycrisps, Empires, Baldwins, Galas. You drop my hand to feel for an apple, and I pop a sample slice in my mouth, awaiting your decision. With an Empire in one hand and Honeycrisp in the other, you turn to ask, “Which looks best?”
“What about getting both?” I suggest. Your eyes light up at the idea. What a luxury to get two farmer’s market apples! I can’t imagine spending my $2.61 on anything else.
We take turns eating the Empire first, and the pause between bites allows its honey-sweet flavor to linger on my tongue. Nearing its end, I pop the core into my mouth. You try to persuade me of the imminent threat of arsenic poisoning, so I defiantly pull out my phone to search for counterarguments.
“For one, it’s cyanide poisoning, NOT arsenic,” I read, to which you respond with an eye roll.
“Because that’s so much better,” you remark sarcastically.
I continue, “According to Britannica, adults are only at risk of poisoning after consuming anywhere from 150 to several thousand apple seeds.” I’m met with another eye roll, and you tell me I’m ridiculous. I just smile. I’m convinced I’m right this time around.
With our first apple (and core, in my case) filling our stomachs, we continue onto the bakery stand. Choosing between croissants, muffins, scones, and unidentifiable treats requires much contemplation. We decide on one sweet and one savory. Knowing your love for blueberries, the turnover is quickly selected, followed by a spinach and feta pastry.
We have one last stop: the perfect location for pastry consumption and front-row seats to the local guitarist—a picnic bench in the center of the green. There’s always an old man singing folk songs. Some Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen. The kind of songs that make you feel like you’re watching a slice-of-life film. The children with sticky paint-covered hands under the Mead Art Museum tent and an old couple with their newly purchased parsnips are the main characters. You and I are just passersby.
At the end of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” I am shaken from my daydreams. My hands delve into the pockets of my jeans, and I’m disappointed to find I have no cash for his tip jar. You silently press a five into my hand, and I approach just as “Bridge over Troubled Water” begins. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them—a thank you interrupts the opening lines—I’m on your side, oh. And the song resumes, our fleeting interaction lost in the lyrics.
I return to sit beside you, running my fingertips along yours. “Should we get going?” you ask. I knew the question was coming, but I still can’t shake my mild disappointment and anxiety that ensue. Returning means facing the 324 pages of reading I’ve fallen behind on, my book review, my problem sets…
As we leave the green, we break out the Honeycrisp apple, sharing it until we reach Spring Street. The remaining half is all yours. We part ways at the corner, you heading for Marsh Library and me walking toward Lipton. With Simon and Garfunkel lyrics cycling through my head, I make a mental note to wake up early Saturday mornings. Because as much as I love lounging in bed, nothing beats the farmer’s market with you.