Author Topic: Rotten Apple  (Read 656 times)

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on: 09:15:24 PM 12/25/17
So I don’t really think this way anymore, but when I was a kid I used to believe houses were alive. My mother tried convincing me I had a guardian angel in heaven but that sentiment fell onto our home: its walls were a shield and its warmth was a hug for me. Up until my mid-teens I felt that way, until we moved for the first time and I realized I didn’t feel that bad about leaving our house behind.

Recently that feeling has come back somewhat. When I was younger, bouncing from apartment to apartment after graduating college, there was so much chaos in my life over being an insurance agent that I never thought about where I was living. People told me I was good at my job but my organization skills are not the best, so my living situations were never places to bring anyone home to. Tiny living space after tiny living space becomes very boring, so I decided to change things up a little.

The house I just bought, my first house, reminds me a lot of the grumpy old man I bought it from—standing under a cloudless sky, decadent and casting a judgmental shadow over the field surrounding it, as if it were angry that it no longer belonged to a wealthy family. Isolated and stubbornly alone, it was ten miles out of town, a wooden tombstone along the countryside.

I loved it nonetheless. That feeling coming back from my melodramatic childhood was pity mixed with admiration. The entire house felt like an old story waiting to uncover itself just for me. After I was guided through its musty hallways with rectangular scars of dust where family pictures once were, and its rooms of pea soup-green colored walls, I had made up my mind. Standing in the once-regal living room with natural light spilling on the floor, I looked over to Gerald, the old homeowner, and asked him, “I kind of love it? When’s a good time to move in?”

His eyes were grey and sharp, a challenge every time I made contact with them. “Whenever ya want,” he replied, “long as it’s in the next two months.”

We shook hands. I made a payment on the house a week later, and the deal was settled.

That was a few weeks ago and I don’t regret my decision at all. I had some friends help me move all my stuff in and with the gorgeous spring weather, the whole process was really  smooth. The feeling of living somewhere where I was truly comfortable and safe, that my life was in order, had come back after a long time.

Being a morning person, I could watch the sunrise every day from my kitchen table. In all the apartments I’d lived in there was never one where the windows were big enough to truly appreciate how the sky shrugged off grey sleepiness and turned into a pink mural of sunshine.

From the window I could also see the old wooden shed on the property, maybe five yards from the house. I had searched that broken thing a little and found nothing special about it, only that it was once for tools and the like. Some of my bigger, more rusty tools were in it now, though I used one of the many rooms in the house for storage since I lived alone and that was easier.

That shed was the only thing I didn’t like about the purchase. So I could really enjoy the sunrise every day and the pretty field outside when I ate my breakfast, I planned on eventually fixing up the shed or at least breaking it down. There was no use I could think of for it.

One morning my eyes were stuck on it. It was basically a smaller version of the house, resembling an elderly person with scoliosis—once tall and strong, filled with purpose, but now slowly crumpling to dust. Its makeup of dark grey wood stood out against the pink sky and yellow field.

Looking at the shed was just annoying. I had no neighbors to speak of but I couldn’t help thinking how ‘tacky’ it looked, as my mother would put it.

As strong as my eyes were glued to the old shed with ideas swimming around in my mind about what to do with it, the small dot that hopped from its crooked door crashed my train of thought. It was so sudden that I couldn’t identify whatever it was that just . . . flew out of the shed. It looked more like an underhand toss, but I could actually see the inside of it from my kitchen window and there was no moving figure. Maybe my attention was so heavy on the shed itself that there was a person or animal on my property, but I simply didn’t notice, like staring at a pretty flower at the park and suddenly realizing a person is walking right past you.

It was Saturday and I didn’t have to work so I put on my coat to go investigate. The chilly spring morning had given the flattened grass leading to the shed a light coating of frost, so my steps had a satisfying, rhythmic crunch to them. When I stood a few feet from the shed’s entrance, I scouted the ground for whatever had come out of there and my eyes quickly landed on an apple.

I nonchalantly picked it up thinking the weird instance must have been a fox or raccoon. Looking over the fruit I didn’t think a human would want to eat it considering it had clearly gone bad, looking like a person’s fingertips when they were in the water too long. When I turned it around in my fingers, I saw a bite mark that wasn’t animalistic at all though. It looked like any way a person bites into an apple, a large crater with little valleys inside where the teeth hit.

After inspecting the shed and finding nothing, I walked back to the house and threw the apple in the trash. I’m a little anxious despite the fact there hasn’t been any sign of another person around here, but at least I can actually enjoy my mornings now since I tore down that ugly shed.