Apple Tree

I looked up at my neighbour’s apple tree and my mouth started to water. The thought of the first bite of sweet crispiness called to me and it was a temptation I answered.

I pressed against the wooden fence and cast through the leaves. There were a lot of apples on the branches that over hung my garden. A few apples were in easy reach too but I wanted one that was ready.

The lowest apples were the ones that had seen less sun and they were not ready. The highest ones were but they were out of my arms reach and it would be too suspicious if I stood on a ladder.

I choice an apple that was at the height of my reach. It’s red and green colours were splashed together and it felt heavy in my palm. A quick twist and it was mine!

The barking started before I could officially claim my prize. I looked across my neighbour’s garden and saw their dog. It was a terrier mix and making one hell of a racket.

I swiftly lowered my arm and put the apple into my pocket. The dog bounced over, knowing he’s territory had been entered and he slammed into the fence.

Shooing the dog away was useless and I know my neighbour would appear to see what the noise was about because their back door was open. Hopefully, they would think it was a bird the dog was chasing after.

I rushed back to the lawn mower I had abandoned and turned it on. The engine drowned out the dog’s barking and I hurried about my task once more.

A few minutes later, I had finished and packed away the lawn mower in the shed. The dog had stopped barking. Sitting on the shed’s step, I took out the stolen apple and had my first bite.

It was just as good as I had imagined.

Steps #Writephoto

My granny use to say, ‘if these steps could talk what stories they’d tell!’

I’d laugh and say ‘tell me a story then.’

She would whilst we sat on those steps outside her house with the summer sun on our faces and people waving as they went by.

Granny would spin truth and fiction together, making her simple life exciting for my childhood self. There’d be stories of her dancing the night away with my granddad, long days working in the cotton factory down the road and her adventures as a nanny in London.

My favourite stories were the ones set in the war. Granny was a teenager and whilst her brothers, baby sister and mother moved away to the Devon to live with cousins, granny stayed in Manchester and worked in a factory making uniforms and other clothes for the soldiers.

There was something that fascinated me about that time. It seemed a different world with secrets still unknown.

Years and years later, the sad time arrived and granny’s house was for sale. My parents lived in Devon and though I had stayed in the Manchester for work, I had my own place. I did debate having my granny’s house but too much work needed to be done and I couldn’t offered that. It was easier to sell the place and try to move on.

‘Is there anything else you want to take?’ one of the moving men I had hired asked.

I looked back at the house and saw the front steps. I nodded and said, ‘I want those steps.’

The man was confused and I realised it did sound little silly.

‘I think that’s slightly above me,’ the man replied slowly.

Argument bubbled on my tongue but I swallowed and told him to go get the others and I’d help.

After, with the worn stone steps heaved into the moving van, the man told me that was properly one of the oddest things he’d had to shift.

My granny’s steps are outside my front door now. I sit on them with my own children and tell them all kinds of stories.

Some true and some not quite.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/07/30/thursday-photo-prompt-worn-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.

In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.

My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.

In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.

I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.

It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.

The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.

It’s just another day in lock down.

Light

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The garden was alive. Birds were singing merrily, bees were buzzing around the blooming flowers but I wasn’t interesting. I could see the beauty of it from my back door and the way the sunlight caused a cast of shadows against the walls and flagstones.

The air was heavy with flowers, grass, damp earth and somewhere a faint hint of burnt toast. No doubt from one of my neighbours who was rushing through breakfast. I hadn’t eaten, couldn’t face the idea of food yet. I had a few sips of water and that was enough for the moment. Later, I would have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

There was nothingĀ  wanted to do today. TV was a boring old friend, going on about the same problems. The radio was a drone of sounds that washed each other out. The birds would start to annoy me soon, they seemed too happy, too caught up in spring joy.

Why couldn’t I be as happy as them? What did they do that made then feel so good?

I stepped outside, feeling the sun like hot bath water around me. The sky was a crystal blue, too pure to be real. The flowers were too brightly coloured. They swayed in the breeze as if nodding to each other. Bees visited the blooms and carried pollen away, they large fuzzy bodies cute like children’s TV characters.

I breathed deeply and sat down in a somewhat abandoned plastic garden chair.

I didn’t want to live in the shadows anymore, the light was so much better.

Brisk

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Autumn’s carpet lay at my feet. The trees above were almost bare having been forced to shed their coats by the strong winds. The sky was grey with rain promising clouds which would add to the water all ready on the ground.

It was the kind of brisked day I liked to go walking through the woods on. The cold reddened my skin, making me feel more alive then the summer’s heat had done. There was also so many different smells to be enjoyed; earth, wood, nut, rot, fire, damp and pine. There was nothing like the scents of autumn!

I could imagine my old dog going crazy through the crisp and crunchy leaves, chasing birds and squirrels. She would also find conkers and acorns to chew up then the biggest sticks to demanded me to throw.

My wife too would have loved this. Autumn was her favourite kind of year and she would cook the most wonderful of foods; stews, soups, hotpots, apple pies, pumpkin pies, fruit pies, ginger biscuits and so much more. She said autumn was her season and you couldn’t beat it.

Alone I now wandered, walking paths once filled with happiness. Autumn makes me both happy and sad, able to forget the hurt and remember more deeply. Out here, I can pretend my wife and dog are just over there, playing in the leaves and laughing amongst the trees.

 

(This story was inspired by the below ASMR sound video)