Dorcas and I are like children, riding our bicycles after supper to pick blackberries in Tommy Martin’s field. There was rain last week and the berries have grown fat and sweet as they ripened. It’s tempting to put more in our mouths than in the bucket, but cobblers don’t get made that way. So we pick, reaching far into the overgrown patch to get the fattest berries. Brambles tug at our clothes and scratch our bare legs. Occasionally an old, dead cane will snag, tearing flesh, and we are reminded to be more careful. We pick until it becomes too dark to tell ripe berries from the red ones, and then start home.
We ride down a dirt lane past barns filled with rusting equipment, no longer used but still precious in someone’s memory. Blossoms of trumpet vine reach out along the lane, calling louder than Gabriel, but we must get home before the feral hogs come out to root along the verge and in the lawns. We ride through the village, now closed for the day and dark. The last customer has left the café and the cook has gone home to his wife, home from her job in the city. No one stirs along the road, and no one sees two small children grown old, riding their bicycles in the twilight, trying to reach home before their mothers begin calling for them.