“Are we ever moving back to the city?” Hank moves the hose along the line of watermelons, being careful to water around the plants.
“Why would we want to do that?” Arlene leans on her rake and watches him.
“I dunno. Friends. Restaurants. Theatre. Jobs. Life.”
“This is living. And we’re out from under the heel of the corporate masters. We know what’s in the food that we eat. We have friends.” Arlene motions across the valley where small farms dot the landscape. “The kids are healthier than they’ve ever been and they’re learning self-reliance. How much more do you want for them?”
“It was easier in the city.”
“Was it? Never knowing where our food came from or how it was grown?” She shakes her head and goes back to raking the mulch over the watermelon hills. “Is it easier when someone else controls the food supply? Tell that to anyone who’s ever been in a disaster zone and had to wait for the army to deliver inedible MRE’s.”
A howl pierces the air. Down by the beehives one of the twins shrieks like he’s being eaten alive. They’ve been told a dozen times not to play there.
Arlene bends over and cuts a watermelon off its shrivelled tendril. “Here, take this to the house. First one of the season. As soon as the kids see this, they’ll forget about whatever disaster has struck.”
She tosses Hank the fruit but it slips through his wet hands. With a dull thud, it lands on the ground and splits open.
“Oh my god.” He slaps his hand over his mouth. “We can’t eat that.”
Arlene looks down at the fruit, her ears still tuned to the boy whose cries have become increasingly melodramatic. “Why the hell not?”
“It’s infested with bugs.”
Arlene smiles. “Those are seeds, city boy. That’s what real watermelons look like.”
Picture from Wikimedia: "Bauernmädchen mit Heurechen und Sichel". 1857, 84 x 69 cm, signiert "A Küster