P R U N E S

“What’s wrong?” my neighbor asked as I lay in the middle of my lawn looking up at the sky.

Not hearing her approach, I quickly swiped at my cheeks to hide the tears. “Oh, hey, hi Kristen – Oh gosh, nothing is wrong, sweetheart, but I appreciate you stopping to ask,” I replied, a little too enthusiastically.

Instead of walking away, she continued staring at me. “I saw you crying. That’s why I stopped and asked,” she said.

Sitting up, I covered my eyes from the sun to look up at her. “I forget you younguns have good eyes. Ain’t nothing wrong. My heart is just heavy this evening. It’ll pass. I still appreciate you stopping, but enjoy your evening walk. I’ll be fine,” I said.

“Can I do anything for you, Miss Jackson?” she persisted.

“You know, Sundays have a strangeness to them I can’t put my finger on. The feeling ain’t bad, but it ain’t good either. Today it’s leaning more towards heaviness, and since joy ain’t heavy, I like to think I’m feeling something closer to sorrow. So my tears let me swim with it a while. I’m not sure what you can do for folks swimming in their emotions,” I answered.

“I can sit with you, Miss Jackson, so you’re not so lonesome out here in the grass,” she offered.

“Girl, you are the sweetest and kindest neighbor I think I’ve ever had. Thank you for the offer. I have an idea, how about instead you add us to your prayers tonight. Ask God to keep his hands on us, so we don’t swim too long or too far out,” I replied.

“We?” she asked, looking confused.

“Yes, ’We.’ Whenever I cry, it means I’m not swimming alone,” I said before laying back down and staring up at the sky.

“I’ll do that, Miss Jackson. I’ll also ask Him to make your swimming more joyful so that when you smile, you also know you’re not smiling alone,” she said before waving goodbye and continuing her walk.

Her words caused me to think of him and I being so joyful that we’d let ourselves turn into prunes for not wanting to get out of the ocean. I laughed for a few minutes, then closed my eyes, and fell asleep under the setting sun, dreaming about our skin, and joy.