I’ve been inspired recently by a brave and reckless creative prompt posted on Go Dog Go Café which asks writers to incorporate book titles into new pieces of fictional art. This week’s flash ends with the title of a Southern saga called, ‘The Sweetness of Water.‘ I recently visited Georgia and got a sip of Southern graciousness and hospitality. This piece is inspired by my trip and also my memories of growing up in the South. Enjoy!
Where We All Come From
“Southerners don’t do well on just dry land,” Daddy said, while Mommy fanned herself faster and faster. But it made no difference, her Sunday makeup continued to melt. August heat was a wildfire.
“She has the biggest swimming pool I’ve ever seen.” Mom replied, her mouth partially hidden by the accordion folds.
“That baby gonna come out an Olympic swimmer,” Daddy added, and they both laughed lightly, sipping lemonade the color of sunshine on the verandah, and watching the family enjoy the yard.
On Sundays, sister’d float. A pool within a pool, I remember thinking, amazed by her buoyancy, the way she zipped like a sea otter from one side to the other.
Her feet swelled something terrible that summer. So bad she had to wear flip-flops to Sunday school. Mommy tried to console her. “Now, it’s not that bad, sugah. Surely, God will understand if your feet need a little extra air-conditioning this summer.”
But it wasn’t God, sister was crying about. Being this side of the Fall line, square in the bible belt, she’d already felt the hot poker of prying eyes. They all held their breath when she was in earshot, of course, but the second she was out of range, they’d splash their jokes, giggling and waddling around the room doing their best impersonations.
In early September, when the Doctor said enough was enough and finally decided to go up there himself and pull the plug, a white water river flowed outta my sister. Doc said he had to go home and change before the baby could be delivered, she’d soaked him through and through.
As a little girl, it comforted me to know we are all formed underwater. I took a sip of sweet tea and held my new niece. Wet my amphibian lips, giving her a tiny kiss, a little taste in remembrance.
Yes, no one can deny the sweetness of water.