Remember the old place with the vine-covered wall? We’d ride our bikes the two miles along the rutted, sun-baked dirt road from the small village our parents raised us in, quiet so the old woman who lived in the house behind the brick barrier wouldn’t hear us, or so we hoped. The oldest of us girls would steady a bike so the youngest could climb up on the saddle and pick from the apple trees whose branches hung over to seduce us into petty theft. One piece only for each of us, and I remember as we rode away that I’d turn and wave, mouthing my thanks on our behalf. Thieves we might have been, but raised with manners and gratitude.
With the years, I fully believed she saw and heard us, and didn’t understand why she never called out to chastise, or came by to tell our mothers. Two young girls changed that for me today, thinking-hoping I didn’t see them, lithe as silent deer as they crossed my yard to each take an apple fallen from its branch. This is why our boldness was forgiven without mention: We were aiding and abetting an old woman’s memories of being young.