Apple Dates: Part II

Apple Dates (part two)

Dad can’t go outside anymore. He stays at the hospital a lot. The doctors want to see him all the time now. But I make sure to go on an Apple Date each day.

I don’t go to the bench in the park. It’s made for two people. I wasn’t going to go back till he comes with me. But I thought I’d just walk by it today.

Dad says that memories are the most important thing we have because they’re our seeds. They take root in us. Who and what we become is because of them – like apple trees. That bench is a good memory, and my one day there changed me. I dreamed of my first apple field there.

I start walking down the path that goes to the bench. From a distance, it looks different. The bench isn’t new anymore. The wood is worn from the rain, sun and cold winters. That isn’t what I notice first though. What I see first are the two trees growing beside the bench.

Inside I start to smile, and it quickly starts to spread from my face to my toes. I run to the bench and the trees. There is a plaque underneath each tree.

The first one says “Everything starts with a seed.”

“What will you be?” reads the second plaque. Beneath that line, reads “For my Lizzy Girl.”

Today was a hard day. This doesn’t make it easier, but it makes it better. Dad didn’t forget. I won’t forget.

I curl up on the bench with my apple. Red today. I choose red a lot. Green is for special days. Green is for Apple Dates with Dad. I pull out my journal, too. I keep it in my backpack for times like this - times when my words are more important out than in.

Life can be a lot like apples. Once you get past the shiny peel, you find out what the apple is really made of. And it’s there that the fruit can be transformed. I have my seeds, and now I’m finding out how to grow.

Who will I be? My mind drifts. As usual, I start doodling apple fields. I guess Mom is still right. I let my imagination run away with me.

My pictures are always the same. Rolling hills littered with rows of apple trees and two people in the middle – two people that aren’t unlike Dad and me.

Mom gave me a cell phone for my birthday last year for emergencies and so that I can have my Apple Dates with Dad. My phone rings now. It’s Dad.

“How’s my Lizzy Girl today?” I never get used to his voice. It’s different than it used to sound.

“Fine, Dad.” It’s been a hard day, but I know my days are never as hard as his. “How is your day?”

“It’s a good day. Today was a green apple day.”

“But why?” I ask with worry and excitement.

“I’m coming home today, Lizzy.”

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