Pine Street Episode 321: Summer fades

Before they know it, the morning is over and high noon has arrived. The big canvas umbrella on Jeeves’ back deck no longer sends any shade their way, and the late summer heat builds steadily. Bees buzz in a cloud around the sunflowers clumped near the railing. The sky is a slightly faded turquoise, punctuated by small white clouds, and surrounded by a haze of smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away. 

“My dears, we’d better move indoors,” Jeeves offers. “And if anyone is hungry, there’s something in the refrigerator, I’m sure.” 

Franny would normally use this as a cue to leave – she is sensitive to overstaying her welcome anywhere, even with good friends. But she finds herself reluctant to part from these women. While she wonders what to do, Kassandra speaks up. 

“I’ll see what I can whip up,” she says, moving into the house, carrying their empty cups and plates on a tray. 

They follow her inside, none willing to leave, not yet. Jeeves resettles them all into the living room, plumping pillows and moving books out of the way. The room is not air-conditioned, but it is cool, shaded by trees at most windows, an old-fashioned ceiling fan whirring softly above them. 

Franny helps Kassandra plate up leftovers from Jeeves’ fridge: slices of quiche, bowls of summer berries, crusty bread with raspberry jam. 

The women continue their communion, murmuring compliments for the food and the comfortable furniture. 

“I will miss this,” Franny blurts out. They all turn and stare. She has left Pine Street before, of course: academic conferences, family visits. But their gazes tell her they have heard the difference in her voice. They wait, quietly, for her to go on, explain.

But she can’t explain, because she isn’t sure what she plans to do. “Whenever, you know, we aren’t together,” she adds, clumsily. 

“I think you’d better say more,” Jeeves says. “And don’t worry. We all know nothing lasts forever.”

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