Fiction: this is magic

 

Sometimes you have to make your own magic. Like when you find that perfect pomegranate and instead of squirreling it away you share it with the people around you. That look of simple satisfaction as they eat the purplish-red seeds, the quick pop and burst of flavor in their mouths and then the expression of satisfaction; this is magic. It is not the only kind.

One day, not so long ago, we were sitting under the grape arbor. No, not one of those arches, the grapes gently draped, but a large circular roof made of beams, the only shelter created by the broad green grape leaves winding haphazardly above us. Beneath, the patio is made up of odds and ends. I could see, among pieces of pottery tile, bright green flecks of glass from that cup that I broke the second day I was here. It was no longer useful for drinking, but it found a new use here, as the outdoor floor beneath the canopy of grapes.
It must have been fall, early fall I guess. The grapes were hanging down in heavy, sticky sweet bunches. Most of the grapes on the farm had gone by and were no more than raisins on the vine but if you knew where to look there were still a few succulent fruits hanging among the leaves. This grape arbor, the one we were eating under, was tired and done for the season. The sticky, dark purple fruits only food for the birds and the wasps.
It was a midday feast on an unexpected day off. We were all lazy but thinking of work. Yesterday I took a piece out of my hand with a hatchet. You see her there? Yes, across the circle, she sliced herself open by accident too, but she was playing with concrete; I don’t think she bled so much but now her hands are so dry. Next to her, you see him with the white hair? And no, he isn’t old, he’s just been playing with the limestone, the new arches are beautiful but he can’t work today because no one is helping him and he can’t lift the stones by himself. It may be for the best though, always good to remember to take some time off, even if it is an unexpected break.
Anyways, we had our pot of buckwheat and vegetables, our salad (yes, there were pomegranate seeds from a fruit plucked just a few minutes before the meal). We had our spoons and our appetites but no energy to do more than pass the bowls around, each person having a spoonful or two and passing it on. The cool freshness of the salad balanced the heat and garlic of the buckwheat. Surprisingly, for such heat, we ate a lot. Our lovely cook was happy, she had forgotten so many people had gone home and there were only a quarter of who was normally here.
 
I think the food gave us some magic. For half an hour we sat around, full and content, breathing in the sweet scent of rotting grapes. After a time, new energy flooded through us. My fellow countryman ran off to make bread, the young white haired man found some tools someone was looking for and then ran off to play the piano. The rest of us scattered to our various tasks. The farm is not so big but if everyone is doing their own work it is not so likely you will run into anyone. Only when people are still will you find anyone. The day was still lazy, not a lot of work was getting done but we were living, breathing beings once more rather than the stationary stones we were in the morning.
That night I went to find my friend with concrete on her hands. I wanted to give her some lotion to soften the creases in her fingers. When I went to her yurt, though, and pushed aside the red and white curtain I found no one sleeping there. I thought she had said she was going to bed an hour before but all I could hear or see in the semi-darkness was a sigh of someone in heavy slumber and five empty beds. I realized that in sleep she must have slipped between the curtains of reality, living time at a different pace than I was.  It was no use trying to find her then. I would find her the next morning, when the sun came up.

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