The sky lightens around me, uncovering the yard beyond my porch. The autumn air dries the apple juice on my fingers, the chill permeating my knuckles. Pains streak through them as I run the knife around and around the rough red peels. The peel skims off in one solid spiral. I study the movements my hands and fingers make. I contemplate all of the women of my family who have swung on this porch swing, doing the same job that I am at this moment.
The pull of my past beckons me. I remember sitting on the swing with Mamaw, eating slices of the apples as she spoke of family or sang the old hymns. Sometimes when I’d get greedy, the juice would drip down my chin as I tried to eat faster than she could peel. She would laugh at my attempts then wipe my chin with her apron tail. It’s softness only rivaled by the touch of her hand upon my cheek, the love shining in her eyes. Those times spent upon the porch swing are precious to me now.
I wonder if she learned at the knee of her mother or grandmother. At the time, I didn’t think to ask and now I can’t. She’s been gone for years. Her voice echoes around me as the world awakens. My peels pile up in her old floral bowl as the slices fill my new bowl. Mixing the old with the new, I wonder when my hands became hers.