Darren leant on the back verandah railing, twisted the bottle cap off a beer and watched the summer sun begin to dip lower than cleavage in a bikini. The beer was a cool cascade after an afternoon working in the yard. The scent of mowed lawn was intoxicating, blended with the jasmine across the back fence.
His twenties were receding and summer reminded him of ice cream and watermelon, sunburn and sandy feet. He remembered not wanting summer to end because it meant shiny new black leather school shoes and socks and blisters, rather than bare feet and board shorts.
He waved to his wife, Robyn, through the lounge room window. She thought he was mad working in the summer heat, waving back at him from air-conditioned comfort.
“Last job,” thought Darren as he skipped down the back steps. He dragged the garden hose and positioned the sprinkler near the summer flowers. Sipping from his beer he turned the tap and watched the three-legged whirligig spin into action. A hundred thousand watery prisms spun away, refracting summer’s afternoon light. He drank deeply in his nostrils the moistening earth.
He inched closer to the perimeter of the sprinkler, letting the drops touch his feet. They were icy at first, skittering over the bare, sun-drenched skin of his feet. He took a step back but the watery touch was inviting. He let the droplets caress his feet while sipping at his beer. The liquids combined, refreshing parched bodies of earth and flesh.
Darren was buoyed by the dizzying elation of a hundred thousand droplets. He dashed back to the verandah and put down his beer. Looking around, his t-shirt and shorts were quickly discarded. With childish glee he ran back to the sprinkler and cavorted under the water in nothing but his underpants.
Leaping and jumping over the sprinkler he felt like a child again. He ran back to the tap and turned it up higher until the spray reached above his head. He stood at the centre of the sprinkler and let the sweat and dirt and grass drip off his body. The grass squelched under his feet and Darren watched the mud ooze up between his toes. He wiggled his feet as water dripped off the end of his nose.
“Having fun there, sweetheart?” Robyn stood on the verandah, hand on her hip and a glass of lemonade in the other.
“And I see you’re wearing your best yard work underpants.”
Darren looked down, his fringe flopping in front of his eyes in wet strands.
Robyn laughed, bent down and turned off the sprinkler. The water fell into the lawn, seeping away with pops and crackles. Darren simply grinned.