There they are. Two small cherry tomatoes ripening on your potted tomato plant. Sometime between when you left for your short trip and your return, those little globes went from green peas to ripe red fruit. You stare at them for a long time, not quite believing your luck. Two whole tomatoes, there for your enjoyment.
Then, barefoot and holding your watering can in one hand and dead plant leaves in the other, you consider your options. You are hesitant to eat them all at once but can't think of any recipe that would call for just two cherry tomatoes. Even worse, you would hate for them to get lost in a salad, where the lettuce, vinegar, and oil might overwhelm them completely. As you weigh your options, you know you've already made up your mind: you lack the self-control to do anything but eat them straight from the vine. You set your watering can down and toss out your weeds and debris--the rest can wait.
As you pick those little tomatoes, you can feel their sun-warmed skins, the smooth, soft flesh wrapped tautly around their juicy core. You take the first one in your mouth, allowing it to roll around your tongue, almost afraid to break the surface of its skin with your teeth--but you do it anyway. You can't resist the taste of a real tomato.
You feel the skin break, spilling out soft seeds and flooding your mouth with the sweet taste of summer: sun, soil, savory red fruit. You are left with the tart taste on your lips and soil on your hands. It is over too fast; you promise to make the second one last longer but you know it, too, will be gone sooner than you would like. Already your tongue is missing the bright taste of this homegrown magic.
You pop the last one into your mouth determined to savor every last inch of it. You roll it around your tongue remembering why your garden tomatoes have turned you against their mealy store bought cousins. Then this second one, too, is gone in a flood of seeds and juice. You gaze longing at your tomato plants, searching for signs of yellow flowers or little green bulbs that will one day ripen into edible euphoria. Until then you can only wait, water, tend. So you pick up your watering can once more and go about the business of tending your garden, the tang of the first tomatoes of the season still fresh on your lips.
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