When I was nine I spent a week at my paternal grandparents house. It was the first time I spent that much time away from my parents and it was a very unique experience that still stands out in my mind. My Opa and Oma didn’t speak much English and my Oma was determine to get some German into my head while I was there. Every activity we did, every task we accomplished was punctuated with her verbally labelling everyday in German.
Every morning we would walk to the park so I could play, which would mostly consist of me sitting on the swings by myself because as the oldest of four children I did not know how to play by myself.
Every afternoon, at three o’clock, we would sit on the front porch, all three of us, and eat peaches. Peeled and sliced up in little glass bowls with ruffled edges that look like lace. Cream poured on top. Just eating and silently watching the world go by. I don’t remember any German lessons in these moments. I don’t remember any talking at all. Just the sweet creaminess in the hot afternoon. No language needed to share contentment.
I’ve hardly eaten peaches since that summer because the fuzzy skins are revolting and and peeling them is a nuisance. But this year they’re just so tempting that I find myself standing in the kitchen, slowly peeling one or two most evenings and remembering that summer. I’m brought back to those afternoons by the tactile memories that linger in my fingers and my tongue as I peel and eat, peel and eat.