The apple sat on the table. The table stood on glistening floorboards. The floorboards reached down into the dark hallway to blackness.
I could hear him breathing.
I was hungry but I refused to touch it. It was the deepest red I had ever known an apple to be. The shine was way beyond the waxy sheen of the grocery apples. This one looked like it was enameled.
I stepped closer. I sniffed. The perfume rose into my nostrils and swirled into my brain. My stomach growled. I hated him for doing this.
I stepped closer, my nose wanting another whiff. My stomach begging. As I moved my face towards the orb, a ghastly face appeared causing me to jump away tripping over my shoelaces and landing on my bum.
“Damn.” The shoelaces formed a devious smile curling at me.
I hurried out the door when I got his message. I hadn’t heard from him since we parted three weeks ago. He promised he would text me when he was safe. That was three weeks ago.
I almost gave up hope ever seeing him again. Although that wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. Whatever I did with him turned into trouble. I was still nursing injuries. But thinking he might not have survived at all, that made me hurry to meet him. So I didn’t stop to tie my boots and here I was sitting on the hardwood floor inside a house I shouldn’t be in wondering about an apple.
Oh, the tempting apple. I approached it, this time from the side with my hand waving in front of it. Okay. I was just a bit skittish before. The first time I faced the red mirror ball, the face was mine. But in the sheen of the strange apple, it distorted my face. Somehow all the things I didn’t like about my face appeared enlarged. I looked like a troll.
I hated when he did this. Everything was always a “trial.” He said it was good for me. It would make me sharper and stronger. I bought it at first. I think the only thing it made stronger was his ego. But I played along as he was was the one who was to help us and I was the chosen one to be his acolyte.
So now, hungry and with a sore bum, I had to decide what to do with the apple. Do I touch it? Do I eat it? Do I talk to it? Do I roll it down the long hallway hoping to make a strike?
I looked at myself again in the glaze. This time, although it was still me, I was older. Grey hair, wilding around my face with strong wrinkles and a kindly smile? Could that really be me? Kindly and smiling were two words that rarely, if ever, described me. As I stared, my hazel eyes with the gold specks in just the left gleamed back at me, winked, then faded away.
A fog started to roll from the top of the apple and began to veil it from my sight.
It was his voice. It caught me off guard. I didn’t realize how much I needed to actually hear it to believe he was still alive.
“Hurry.” This time it came more insistent.
“What do you mean?” Should I grab it? Eat it? Smash it?
I hated him for this. I hated that I always had to figure it out on my own. I could feel his crystal blue eyes watching. I knew there was a twinkle. That ego of his was insufferable.
“Hurry, Little One.”
That was all it took. He knew exactly how to piss me off. I grabbed the apple and clamped down so hard I thought I might bite right through my fingers. But I didn’t.
Just as soon as the ruby skin broke and juice ran down my chin, my nose filled with the honeyed scent. I chewed with so much zeal that it took me just three bites to eat the whole thing.
I swallowed and felt warm and full. How could one apple fill a gut that was so empty?
I closed my eyes and sighed. And when I opened them, there he was standing in front of me. He rose at least three feet taller than the top of my head. It wasn’t that I was so short, he was just tall.
I wanted to hug him, tell him how worried I was about him. I wanted him to know how dark it was in the quarters waiting for word from him and how no one came. When they thought he was gone, they all left. I didn’t leave. I knew he would be back. I knew he would find a way. I wanted to tell him how much I cared for him.
“Hey, Pip Squeak, didn’t you even consider I might like part of that apple, too?”
I sat down on the floor in the house where we shouldn’t have been. Squeezing the apple core of the most delicious apple I had ever tasted I started to cry. For the first time, I let him see me cry.
“There. That’s what I needed to see. You are a softie after all. That’s important.”
He sat down next to me, reached out his big bear arms to encircle me, and I fell fast asleep.
I hated him for not making me hate him.
In the last post I explained why I haven’t posted here. Most of my writing has been for my class.
Today our writing group got together and we wrote. Harrison, the high school son of one of our writers, challenged his mom with this prompt: I hated him for not making me hate him. I also brought some book covers in a bag from which we pulled one to use the title or picture or words.
I was so pulled into the prompt that I didn’t even touch the book cover.
One thing I find interesting about this piece. My character voice which has been a bit more fragile, seems to have grown stronger. I like her. I want to see where this goes.