Thursday evening heat and humidity wove together in the perfect balance, a rarity for a Midwestern summer. Margo used the weather as an excuse to draw her family together on the deck, carrying polka-dotted plastic plates and platters from the air-conditioned kitchen into the balmy air.
“Honey? Is the bacon almost done?” Margo asked. With careless precision coming from years of repetition, she filled glasses with lemonade and arranged food on platters to the most convenient locations.
He nodded, tugging awkwardly at the apron he wore to make Margo happy, tired eyes still able to appreciate the effort she made to keep her legs toned under pristine white shorts.
Bacon on the grill was a chore, and Josh had good-naturedly attempted to sneak the steaks from the freezer before Margo swatted him out of the door with her spatula.
Janie was only home from college for a few nights, and Margo had expertly pulled together her favorite meal. Fresh bread, baked that morning before the afternoon sun drenched the kitchen with heat, rested in thick slices next to the ruby meat of garden tomatoes.
Adjusting the bag of frozen peas resting on her sore knee, Janie lifted her eyes from her book.
“Mom. I’m not eating that.”
Margo’s palms began to sweat. She wiped them on a cloth napkin, pretending she’d spilled something.
“Hmm? Not your favorite anymore?” she struggled to keep her voice even and her eyes off the unnatural way Janie’s clavicles cut through the thinness of her t-shirt. The old shirt was from a concert sophomore year of high school, but this summer Janie was swimming in it.
“I just don’t eat pork anymore,” Janie apologized, though her eyes rested on the jar of mayonnaise and heavy white bread.
“I’ll just whip you up an LT, then!”
“Yuck Mom. No thanks.”
Josh didn’t need the look up to feel the plea radiating from his wife’s eyes.
“Jane. Your mom grew those tomatoes just for you, babe,” he teased, setting the bacon platter on the table, grease staining the tablecloth.
“Then I’ll eat the tomatoes,” she shot back.
The temperature at the table dropped a few degrees as Janie speared a thick slice of tomato, deliberately cutting it into miniscule bites.
Red juice pooled on her plate, the untouched tomato serenaded by cicadas hiding in trees above the deck, eager to shed their skins for something new.
Plump tomatoes, salty bacon, crisp lettuce, soft bread, this week we want you to be inspired by the BLT.