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September 22, 2011 / 74

Apple Pie

In honor of my first thousand hits on this Blog site – I decided to give you all something a little special… one of my short-short stories. Hope you like it.

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Apple Pie

(c) 2003, Michael E Picray

The clock’s pendulum hung straight down, as it had since the day he’d opened the case and stopped it. John sat in the overstuffed chair staring at the clock, at the pendulum, feeling the sharp pains in his chest.

Anna-Mae was in the kitchen paring the apples for an apple pie, his “favorite.” He didn’t used to like apple pie. In fact, he’d hated apple pie and refused to eat even a bite of it until he met Ellie. She was the most sought after belle in four counties but John didn’t have time for seeking. There was too much work to do.

Then one Sunday at Church she had come right up to him bold as brass and asked him, “How’s come all the other fellahs in the county chase after me and buy me presents, but you don’t? Don’t ya like me?”

He’d smiled. “Don’t know ya. How can I not like ya?” Then he’d got in the spring wagon where his folks were waiting and clucked-up the team to go home.

She ran along-side the wagon and hollered, “Where ya goin’? There’s pot luck after Church and I brought a pie!”

He’d smiled down at her. “Got work to do.” Then he slapped the plow horses on the rump with the reins and their speed rose from a slow mosey into a fast saunter.

That evening she came to the farm.

She was at the house when he got in from the chores and she sat on the porch watching him wash up for dinner. When he approached the house, she said, “I brought ya a apple pie. You do like apple pie, don’t ya? I mean, everbody likes apple pie!”

Her eyes were a startlingly clear blue, like a cat’s-eye marble, bright, piercing. Looking right into those eyes he couldn’t help himself. He lost his balance and his sense and fell into them and said, “Sure.” He hated apple pie, but standing there looking down at her upturned face he decided that for her he’d eat dirt or worse.

When dark came, he asked her when she was going home. She said, “I am home,” and just stayed. Neither of them ever regretted it… except when the apples were in season and she’d make him apple pies. “Special,” she’d say. “Just for you.” And he’d gag it down without showing how much he hated apple pie – proving how much he loved her.

Then one day he came in from the fields and found her on the floor. She looked like something had hurt her a lot, but whatever it was wouldn’t ever hurt her again. He had stood there looking down at her, and then he walked over to the clock, opened the door, and just stopped it. Time for him stopped when she left.

Now, sitting in his chair he felt another pain, deep, and sharp enough to make him gasp. He could call out to Anna Mae, but she’d just call the doctors. Maybe they’d make him better for a while, but they couldn’t bring his Ellie back, they couldn’t restart the clock. He was waiting now. Waiting to see her again. Hoping that there weren’t any damned apples in Heaven, but if there were he’d eat her pies forever, he loved her that much.

Anna called from the kitchen, “Dad? You ok in there?”

He took a deep breath and forced the pain away. “Fine, honey. What ‘cha doin’?”

She came to the door and smiled her mother’s smile at him with her mother’s eyes. “I’m makin’ ya a apple pie, just like Mom used ta’.” Then she turned and went back into the kitchen.

Another sharp pain, deeper and longer than before hit him and he felt his hold on his body loosen just a bit. He muttered under his breath, “Hurry, God. Please hurry. She’s makin’ a apple pie.”

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