We don’t hang upside down as we normally do, our legs wrapped around the monkey bars, steel cold and hard behind our knees, hair hanging down freely, our dresses over our heads, our undies showing. We don’t care, we’re too young to care about being modest all the time, we’ll learn- the other children will teach us with their teasing.
No we don’t hang upside down, our cherry earrings would fall off. We eat some, the juice bursting warm in our mouths, our teeth hitting the pit and backing off, we chew and maneuver with our tongues until the pit is free of all it’s cherry flesh. Then we spit it out as far as we can. We’d love to spit it at that revolting boy that always teases us and pulls our hair, hitting the back of his head. We don’t, we don’t want him to see us at all.
It is hot, the heat presses down on us but we’re in the shade. This big tree that we sit in is cool and the breeze dances through it’s leaves. We’re not supposed to be in the tree, but its the coolest place and no one can see us. The bark presses against our legs, rough patterns pushing into our skin. The cicadas chant so loud we could almost not hear the bell ring if we choose.
We pick the best cherry pairs for earrings and hang them over our ears. We giggle and admire each other as we struggle to make them balance. Searching through the bag I find the biggest plumpest cherry I can. Full of hope, I pop it in my mouth and bite down. Sweet liquid, juicy, some escapes out of the corner of my mouth, dark juice, giggling with a full mouth.
The cicadas thrum louder still and I realise it’s the bell calling us from our tree. I shoo away a fly and then reluctantly uncurl my legs and pack up the cherries. We wait, we let the others go first, we sneak down when no one sees our legs, stiff from being curled up under us, swing down to make our leave. A few cherries fall in the dirt at the base of the trunk where the roots are solid. I look at them regretfully, contemplating rescuing and rinsing them, and then just shrug and run off late already. An offering to our tree, I leave them happily.