Monday 28 June 2021

'Eventually, an Apple' by Marie Little

Throughout the year Jed diligently filled the compost bin, insisted his family did the same. Every teabag, banana peel and leftover was fed to the tall green tub. Gradually worms and time made rich black food for the new Ballerina apple tree Jed planned to buy when he landed the promotion. At work he did all he could to impress; fulfilled every promise, ticked every box, worked overtime without complaint. At home, he planned and prepared, created the perfect space in his matchbox of a garden. He shrugged off his wife's worries about space, turned himself deaf to her fears that the promotion was never coming. In April Jed was called into the boss's office. She looked at him down her sharp nose, said "I'm sorry" and handed him a small apple tree in a pot labelled 'Ballerina'. A parting gift which stung so bittersweet he could barely look at it at first. Jed's wife was kind and let him tend to the tree like a child. They held a small ceremony to bed it in. Jed recited a poem he had written, the mood somewhere between Christening and funeral. He watered its base and shed a tear. Through the first summer Jed pinched off the shoots by hand, afraid to damage the tree with secateurs. On one dark Autumn night, he even slept beside the Ballerina, telling it things he couldn't tell his wife. By the second summer the little tree began to fruit. Jed spent his days watching, measuring, feeding and watering, until one day he called his wife out into the garden. "It's time" he said and trembled as he plucked a rosy apple from the tree. Jed turned the fruit around in his palm and realised that it had, in fact, grown completely pear-shaped.

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