Watermelon Seeds

by Tess Hollitt

Watermelon Seeds The year is 1970. That's me! The little girl with auburn pigtails, bobby socks and white canvas sneakers. I'm 9 years old. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Those wonderful smells. Scallions baking in the hot Kentucky sun. Dill and frying eggs on the stove. The smokey cigarette in the ashtray with my Grandma's cranberry lipstick on it. Stale beer and cigar smoke from the tavern next door lingering in the august air and woopie pies baking in the oven. Sounds, like these smells, are just as strong. A train making music on the railroad tracks behind the house. The high pitched buzz of a window fan and laughter and gabby men's voices coming thru the screen door. The height of segregation is near. My Grandma is the only white woman on the block and is well respected by everyone. My two best friends, summer friends, were two little girls my age named Rice Pudding and Boo Boo. We play for hours. Hop- scotch, jacks, jumping rope games. They are black and I am white. Every week the fruit truck makes it rounds to Grandma's. We race to pick out the biggest watermelon in the bunch. With our mouths watering, we set the table up on the front porch. Transformed we are. No longer little girls, we are "ladies". The watermelon is make believe lobster tail and we are dining in style. We talk of trips, jewelry and boys! Laughing as we spit the black and white watermelon seeds to the sides of our plate, we save these seeds and play tiddly winks with them. We are not black and we are not white at this moment in time. Like the watermelon seeds we just are. We laugh so hard are water logged bellies start hurting. We are the same on the inside only the outside is different. Watermelon Seeds.

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