Betsie Flynn is a Kentish transplant to the Brecon Beacons, where she lives with her husband, children, and cats. Her words are forthcoming or appearing in a few places, including The Odd Magazine, Nymphs, and The Wondrous Real. She has been known to tweet @betsieflynn.
The first real sunshine of the year and somehow I’m always picking up
as many as I can and gliding down the escalator to pay. I’m sucking them
on the bus home from Canterbury, forty-five minutes in the cabbage-baking heat
if I’m lucky. It’s always cabbages, fields upon menacing fields of them. The stench
of their leaves sweating in the sun makes a little bit of sick claw its way up. I swallow
it back, just like I always do, and it’s fine because everything tastes better with watermelon.
Sucking lollipops on buses isn’t without its dangers. Even in my school uniform –
maybe, distressingly, because of my school uniform – it draws stares. Lip-licking. Eyes trying
to meet mine. I see them reflected in the window as I watch the lines of cabbages sunbathing.
Once, the bus broke down and I walked cross-cabbage through those fields.
It was raining then, and it turns out that wet cabbage smells almost as bad as sun-dried
when it has worked its way down into your socks. Up under your school trousers.
Shins spat on with cabbage-breath. It took me years to trust coleslaw,
which to me seemed like cabbage in disguise. Somewhere between salad and spying.
I still want to high-five Cabbage Whites when they skim past me,
hoping they’ve been very hungry. So hungry that cabbage crops dwindle, desolate.
On one memorable first date I was taken to a fancy salad bar where over half the bowl
was proudly filled with varieties of cabbage. Despite that, we married.