We gathered over crab.
“We’ve been out crabbing every weekend and we’re tired of shelling crab. You want to help us eat some?”
Now these are good neighbors.
We brought a big bag of greens, some fresh goat cheese, a jar of the tahini dressing that is continually emptying and being refilled. And a raspberry tart with mascarpone cheese, peach preserves and a pistachio crust.
(Lauren is visiting us for a couple of days, so yesterday we baked. We collaborated on that tart together. Walking down the gravel path to the neighbors’ house, we both giggled. “I can’t wait to eat it!” she kept saying.)
We sat outside in the finally warm air. Lu and her little buddy Blake ran through the yard, playing with the hula hoop, then fighting over the hula hoop. Going down the slide together then one crying because the other wouldn’t give a turn. These were two overtired kids. We probably should have started dinner earlier. But then again, there was crab.
We gathered at the table, each of us with plates and food in our hands. Crab and tin foil containers for the shells. A jug of warm melted butter. Homemade cocktail sauce. Slices of lemon. Bread for one half of the table. Salads with goat cheese. Salt and pepper. Mason jars full of ice water.
Happy silence, save for the cracking of crab legs, the sprinkle of salt, and happy chewing. The kids were happy. Danny didn’t talk for 30 minutes. He just reached for another crab leg.
After dinner, the kids burst into tantrums and tears. The husbands corralled them inside, to play with toys. Later, they stood giggling with parakeets perched on their shoulders.
Sara, Lauren, and I sat outside, in the gloaming. Sara sat, for the first time all day, their newborn asleep in her seat beside her. When we offered her a piece of the tart, I could see the relief in her roll down from her lips to her legs. “Oh, this is so good,” she said, and went for another bite. We sat talking about parenting and how exhausting it is, how much we love the little buggers, how tiring it is to be patient and explain instead of yelling. We make the choice to be patient and explain. We are tired.
The light was leaving the sky. It was time to go home.