Sun Dried
Angela Readman

She was keenly aware of the peppers. She'd watched him prop up their drooping heads, gently twist off the fruit. She considered the unique bulge of each one, how they swelled towards the sun, blushed under its touch. Their writhe towards heat was sealed into the shape of their flesh. No two were the same. 'This one looks like two peppers in one', she'd say, 'conjoined at the hip.' Or, 'this one looks like the a grumpy old man.'

His basket was full of more peppers than she could cook. He handed her the more uniformly shaped ones. She suggested he give the rest to her sister. 'That woman..' he shook his head.

Walking down a back lane, she saw peppers slotted tight between slats of a window shutter, drying in the sun, a slow wrinkling to dark red. Heat beat down and condensed their flavour. She ran her finger over them like parched lips. Through a window, was a woman in a slip of a dress, swaying as if she was listening to music as she took a pepper and held its cool akin against her warm chest. She lay the pepper on the worktop and sliced it open, held it up and inhaled deep as if it was a rose, as if the whole summer was in her hands.

First published: August, 2010
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