on stopping to pick the apples

Lauren Balthrop Playing the Building, by Michael Arthur.

Stay out super late tonight. Picking apples, making pie. The National

Last night I went to an art opening at a tiny café. Sitting outside on a bench afterwards, I watched a little girl and her manic halo of hair stumble down the sidewalk. She looked tipsy, as kids do when they have just learned to walk, and was singing to herself. The glow from the windows caught her eye.

A bunch of musicians, mostly from the band Balthrop, Alabama, burbled within. The evening had a magical air: The art, as one person noted, was “Shel Silverstein, but darker.” Michael Arthur, the artist, had a wide smile and a tuxedo jacket splayed open in front — a happy, handsome penguin. A teenager had powdered giant loops of blue eyeshadow round her eyes, and looked like Debbie Gibson fused with one of Disney’s wide-eyed forest creatures. She wore a top hat with a feather trailing out of it.

The toddler must have seen these two, for her face lit straight up. She marched to the café doorway with her hands in front of her like she was taking Communion and sang out, “HalloWEEN!”

Surely, where there is madness, there must also be Skittles and peanut butter cups.

Driving home from Jersey the other day, I cruised straight past the crooked wooden sign that read “APPLES.” Bruce was on the stereo. I was trying to beat rush hour. Next time I’ll stop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *