I HATE APPLES
I’ve been out of the dating game for so long, I had no idea how it worked anymore. I was surprised she asked me out. I hope this doesn’t turn into my turning into some kind of klutz she wouldn’t want a second date with. I can get frazzled when I’m around women, especially ones I don’t really know. The only time I ever had a real relationship was after knowing a girl a long time. Like with my sister’s best friend, we knew each other for years and I was comfortable around her. So when we started going out, first to the movies or to get a burger somewhere, it came naturally to me. She wasn’t a stranger by any means and we got along so well for a long time. It just happened.
We married and were happy together for so long. Until that drunk came at her in the wrong lane that night.
I was devastated. I shrunk down into a little hole and hid. People were always trying to get me out and about again, but I wasn’t ready. Not for a long time. I understood their concern, but I just had to be comfortable with it. They tried, they even wanted to fix me up with single women they knew. They told me it was time.
For them, maybe. But not me.
Time marches on and here I am with this gorgeous lady. Sweet personality. Maybe this will turn into something, I don’t know. Let’s just see how our first date goes.
She wanted our first date to be apple picking. Sure, I said. I’d never done that before, but I know people who have and they said it was fun, especially with kids. No kids for me, but let’s try it anyway.
This orchard is the most popular around. Besides apples, they have a store that sells all kinds of baked goods along with fresh produce. A little pricey but the quality is worth it. Their cakes and pies are famous, and around Thanksgiving and Christmas, traffic is backed up to get in here. Even radio traffic reports advise on how busy the place is.
Their baked goods used to upset my Aunt Lillian. She was by far the best cook in the world, and the only thing she didn’t bake in her home was Arnold Brick Oven bread. She hated the orchard’s offerings as she thought they were better than hers.
The jury’s still out. I love both. I miss Aunt Lillian’s cakes and pies. She was old when I was little and she’s been gone for a long time.
Anyway, back to our date. The place is busy but not packed. Glad for that. I brought along a big fabric shopping bag for the load of apples we might pick. I like apples but don’t know how many I can eat so I don’t want to overdo it. Macintosh is my favorite, nice and tart.
Plus, the orchard gives you twenty cents per pound credit on apples you pick and they buy back from you. It saves them labor costs in picking their own apples. I suppose it doesn’t even come close to what migrant workers might make picking in the fields, but saving a buck or two is always good.
She sure looks good. Just jeans and sneakers and a pullover hoodie. Long dark hair tied up in a ponytail. No makeup. She doesn’t need it. Those jeans sure fit her well. What would she want with a shlub like me? No matter, here we are.
So off we go into the orchard. We’ll see what’s out there, as they have different kinds of apple trees. We’ll load up and bring some in for credit toward one of those incredible pies they make. That’ll be our dessert. Our dinner will be something she’s cooking for us.
Nice first date, invite me to her house for dinner! Dinner, dessert, a couple drinks. Who knows, maybe even breakfast!
Easy now, cowboy. Take your time. You’ve been out of the loop for too many years.
Kind of chilly but it’s still a nice afternoon. A lot of the trees are cleaned off to a certain height. People can’t reach the rest. But I can reach higher. Being a tall dude has its perks.
She’s really enjoying herself. I love that smile. This is really going well. She must like simple things. I love how she’s humming.
We don’t say much. We don’t have to. There’s a chemistry between us, I can feel it.
I guess we have a little more than five pounds of apples now. It’ll give us about a buck off what we buy. She says her feet are getting cold so we’ll stop now and head to the store.
All I can smell in here is pumpkin. Pumpkin spice coffee and pumpkin spice everything else. I like it, to a point, but I think they overdo it every year. I’d rather have a mug of hot cider. This is an apple orchard, right?
We’ll bring this apple pie home, and a bunch of apples, along with some cider. And a bag of those incredible apple cider donuts they make here. I could live off them, they’re so good.
We’re off to a good start. She seems happy to be with me. I hope this works out. I’ve been alone too long, so I guess I’m ready for the dating scene again.
I’m less nervous that I was before. Easy to talk to her. She seems to be enjoying herself and I haven’t done anything stupid yet.
This was the therapy I needed. Maybe I can be happy again. All alone in a crowded room for far too long. Now maybe my friends will get off my back.
Just before she pulls her seat belt over her, she leans over and kisses me and thanks me for the good time we’re having. Another step taken in the world of romance!
I steer onto the highway and we head for home.
When I wake up, all I see are bright lights overhead. I don’t know where I am and I hurt all over. I hear machines humming and clicking. Someone calls out that I’m awake.
I don’t know what happened. Where am I? In the emergency room? What the hell is going on?
There was an accident. Someone ran a stop sign and crashed into the side of my car. He was double the legal limit. Drunk.
How is she? Where is she? Is she here in the hospital somewhere? Is she okay?
The drunk crashed into her side of the car. She didn’t make it. For the second time in my life, I lost someone to a drunk driver. He lived. I lived. She didn’t.
I heard someone say that when they ripped the door off my car with the Jaws of Life to get her out, apples rolled out onto the road.
Apples. God, how I hate apples.