Peaches in Alabama


by Charlotte Hamrick


 

The two-lane highway unfurled like unpinned hair in a lover’s grasp. An image that only highlighted the distance living between your fingers and my body. We were on an impulsive trip to the beach and I was eager to see the dolphins, their slick bodies leaping and gleaming in the sun, flexible and free. Unlike us, sinking stones that had forgotten how to skip. We needed to relearn that move.

Miles ate up the road, a long-procrastinated decision simmering in the heat rising from the blacktop. Rural houses littered with three-wheelers and hunting dogs led to one stoplight towns where Main Streets were dying a death by Walmart. Soon after crossing the Alabama line, small hand-lettered signs began appearing, leaning drunkenly in roadside weed patches and exclaiming ‘Peaches!’ You said your mouth was dry from the antihistamine and, man, wouldn’t a juicy peach taste good right about now. I laughed and said how I thought juicing up your mouth was something you weren’t interested in anymore. You just WASP-clenched your jaw like you do and gunned the gas pedal making us a target for the Alabama Highway Patrolman in the Qwik Pik parking lot over the hill. Blue lights followed, the screaming siren matching the slew of fucks aimed at me streaming from your mouth.

The split between us erupted in that moment, spewing the sickly sweet rot that had been festering for months. I thought about my suitcase in the trunk packed with more clothes than a weekend at the beach required. I thought about the phone number for Percy’s Helicopter Service nestled patiently in the pocket of my Daisy Dukes and how I’d lick peach juice off my fingers over the Gulf of Mexico, watch the dolphins leap and leap.

 


Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, most recently including MORIA, The Citron Review, and Flash Frontier. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets. You can find her online at Twitter @CharlotteHam504 and on her website Zouxzoux.wordpress.com