Short Stories

Speaking of Apples

0 Comments 15 February 2013

I

I don’t really know if he was french or not but but the kids in the neighborhood pronounced his last name ‘Sool-yay’ because thats what their parents did. He was a nice man, an old farmer. He’d always let us cut through his orchard on our way to McKinley’s ball field. He wasn’t like those goddam migrant workers that would shoot salt rock pellets at anyone they caught cutting through their field.

When Mr. ‘Sool-yay’ would drive his weekly bushel to town we kids would ride up along side his truck and ask for apples. He would always accommodate. He’d say ‘sure kids, sure. I’ve got some nice seasoned ones for ye’. Then he’d reach in the back and toss out a bag full.

I hated the ‘seasoned’ ones because they were always so soft and mushy. When it was just me I’d always get the crisp red delicious kinds. The ones you could hear someone bit into a mile away. But when it was the group we got the ‘seasoned’ ones.

II

I musn’t have been more than ten when it happened.

I always hated quince because they were so goddam hard and the most sour things you’d ever put in your mouth. But my mother loved the flowers that bloomed in the spring. So we kept the big bush at the end of the driveway.

I was held late at school that day so when I got home I threw my bag on the porch, grabbed my bike and headed to Mohawk lake as fast as my legs could peddle.

My driveway was long and straight as an arrow. I could usually pick up a good head of steam by the time I got to the end. As I reached the end I had to take a wide turn around the quince bush to head down the hill. The last thing I saw was the truck’s grill coming right at me. Of course I didn’t remember that then.

III

They tell me I was out for about 10 days. I remember sitting in my hospital bed reading over all the cards my classmates sent me. Looking at them now the stick figure renditions of me getting hit by the trucks are a sight. But I’ll never forget the one from Todd Burningham. I should’ve seen it coming but I didn’t know then that he’d become my nemesis for the next 5 years. His card read “Bill, you must be pretty stupid for getting hit but a truck – Todd”.

I guess he was right. But at the time it didn’t make me feel too good.

When I woke up the doctors wanted to know the last thing I remembered. It was hard to remember because my head hurt so bad. But as hard as I tried all I could remember was me riding my bike behind Mr. ‘Sool-yay’s’ truck asking if I could have an apple. I remember seeing his face in those long rearview mirrors those old Ford’s used to have on the side of the door back then.

“Watch out boy, I’m backing up and if you don’t move I’ll hit ye”

Thats all I remember, and thats what I told them

IV

I didn’t find out for many years later that the man who did hit me had stopped, gone into the house to get my parents, and waited at the hospital day after day until he know I’d be alright.

I just knew that Mr. ‘Sool-yay’ stopped riding around the neighborhood as much as he had. In fact I almost never saw him again except for a few Sunday’s in Fall at the market.

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.


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