Sage That Bitch

“Your aura is dusty,” her sister said, interrupting Megan’s story about how a family of groundhogs had taken up residence nearby and eaten nearly half of the new crops.

Megan looked down, as though her sister could see her through the phone and was commenting on the griminess of her shirt. But no, she’d showered after the rain had forced her inside, and these were clean clothes. “What are you talking about?” Laundry. That was something she could get started.

She tucked the phone against her shoulder and swept through the kitchen and bathroom, pulling towels off racks and forgotten clothing off chair backs and table corners. The rain obviated most fieldwork, but there were a million things to do: transplanting that could be done in the shed, watering the greenhouse seedlings, restocking the farm stand, placing orders for supplies and replacement crops, talking with a local school about setting up an afternoon program, the list went on. But earlier Amos had dropped a kiss on her forehead, something he’d only started doing recently, and told her to take the afternoon off.

I’ll go up to the stand, he’d said, shucking his clothes and climbing into the shower. I already sent most of the kids home. She had leaned in the bathroom doorway and felt a low familiar yearning at the sight of his broad shoulders, the way the skin shaded to gold further down his arms. Is Bonnie working today? she’d asked, casual in a way that meant it wasn’t, and watched his blond head disappear under the shower spray. Yeah, I’ll have her restock while I do inventory, he’d said, lathering soap with his eyes still closed. Wet and blind, his face looked as honest and trusting as a baby’s.

“Are you even listening to me?” her sister asked.

“Something about my aura,” Megan said, and dropped her armful in the washing machine. Her hands were gritty, and an ache that felt like the baby had planted a fist against her kidneys had started up again.

“You grow herbs, right?” Her sister had the distracted sound that she got when doing something more important. “You need to sage that bitch.”