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The End of an Era

Today is Liz's last day of being a teenager.
That's a little sad, and a lot happy.
Today she got a job, but is still looking for something non-commission.
If anyone is in need of a mattress, I'll send you to the place she'll be working starting next Monday!

I am really proud of my beautiful "little" girl. She's no longer a child and I look at her more as friend than daughter most of the time. But I am still there when she has panic attacks over finals or needles, and still expect certain things from her (especially while she is living in our house).

It won't be long now before she moves out permanently, I imagine. No more coming home for the summer or for winter breaks, I surmise. I hope that she'll still want to go to baseball games with me next year even if she does stay in Philly next summer.

But for now, I'll just hold on to this summer and whatever watermelon pickle memories it gives me.

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle
Received from a Friend Called Felicity


During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
    (Hollowed out
    Fitted with straws
    Crammed with tobacco
    Stolen from butts
    In family ashtrays)
Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
Of civilization;

During that summer--
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was--
Watermelons ruled.

Thick imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;

And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.

The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.

But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

~John Tobias