Our story starts on October 13, when I was sitting on the couch in the family room, scrolling through the upcoming events for ASPCA. Fritz (my dog) was laying on my feet, snoring softly. My little brother Tyler was playing on his Nintendo Switch on the opposite side of the couch. I was just about to sign up for the upcoming merchandise sale event when my best friend Hailey’s face popped up on my phone. Of course, she would call me when I just wanted a lazy day at home with Fritz. Reluctantly, I swiped the button and put the phone to my ear.
“Hey, H. What’s up?”I greeted, absentmindedly chewing on my thumbnail. Fritz kicked his legs as a result of a dream and I rubbed him for a moment. He settled down and I turned my attention back to Hailey.
“¡Hola Sabrina! Me preguntaba si querías venir a recoger algunas manzanas de los árboles de mi patio trasero. ¡La abuela dice que están listos!”
Hailey was one-hundred-percent Mexican, and she made it her passion to learn how to speak fluent Spanish by the time she was twenty-five. And here she was, at sixteen, completely confusing me on what she was saying because she was speaking fluent Spanish.
“Um… Hailey? The only word that I know in the sentences that you just spoke is hola. Translate, please?” Even though Hailey couldn’t see me, I raised my eyebrows.
“Oops. Sorry. I was saying that my abuela--um, grandma said that the apples on the apple trees in my backyard are ready to pick. So, do you want to come over and get some? We could make apple pie, or apple smoothies! Or just eat the apples. With peanut butter, of course. Well, no peanut butter for you,” Hailey gushed. I was allergic to peanut butter, and Hailey always made a point to show that she knew this whenever the topic of peanut butter came up. Which wasn’t very often.
“Yeah, sure, whatever. I just gotta let my dad know that I’ll be gone for a bit and Ty’s gonna be home by himself.” I glanced over at Tyler, and he was still rapidly pressing buttons. After leaning over just a bit more, I could tell that he was playing Super Mario.
“Ty? I’m gonna go over to Hailey’s house for a little bit and I will be back before dinner. Don’t burn the house down while I am gone,”I instructed. He just gave me a slight nod and went back to his game.
“Oh! Bring Fritz! I want him to get to know Georgie."
Georgie was an adorable goldendoodle puppy that Hailey had just adopted from an animal shelter a week before. She was absolutely set on getting George familiar with every dog that she knew.
“Okay, okay. I’ll be there in fifteen. See you then.”
I pulled the phone away from my ear and pressed the red ‘end call’ button. Then I tapped a few buttons and pulled up my messages, clicking on my dad and I’s conversation.
Going to Hailey’s to pick apples. Will be back before dinner. Told Ty not to burn the house down.
Okay, sounds good. And please tell Tyler to do his laundry. I already told him that you and I are not doing it for him anymore.
Yup. Talk to ya later.
I will talk to you later.
“Tyler. Dad said that you have to do your own laundry, and that he already told you that we’re not doing it for you anymore. You are thirteen, after all,”I stated. Ty glared at me, but I just shut my phone off and walked into the entryway. My dark grey jacket was hanging on the coat rack, so I took it off and slid it on. Next came my boots, which were black UGGs. Afer grabbing my white Honda Civic car keys, I walked out the front door into the cool breeze. I went to my car, hopped in, and off I went.---
Twelve-and-a-half minutes later, I was sitting in Hailey’s living room with her mom and dad rushing around, trying to get the room tidied up even though they were practically my second parents. I called them by their first names, too.
“Joel, Jo, you really don’t need to clean up. Hai and I are just about to go outside to start picking the apples.” Then I added, “And besides, you know I don’t care about cleanliness.”
Jo and Joel stopped what they were doing then and looked at me. Both of their faces were red, either from embarrassment or rushing around the room so fast.
Suddenly, there was a yip, then a yap, and both Georgie and Fritz came bounding in, chasing each other. Fritz was trying to jump on Georgie, and Georgie was trying to buck him off. Hailey and I jumped up at the same time, rushing to get our puppies. My pup happily obliged to getting picked up, while Georgie squirmed to get away from Hailey.
“I think it’s about time that you two go out there, don’t you think? Jo and I will take care of these little rascals,”Joel declared. I glanced at Hailey, and she was nodding furiously. We let down Fritz and Georgie at the same time and they started wrestling again. Ahead of Hailey, I raced to the back door and pushed my way out. My best friend wasn't far behind.
In no time flat, we were at the edge of her large yard and were staring at all of the apple trees. There was probably around twenty--maybe more. Most of the leaves were already changing color, but most of the apples were still hanging onto the branches for dear life.
“Here’s a basket that I grabbed on our way out. One for me and one for you. Grandma Barb says that we should be able to fill up our baskets.” Hailey handed me a basket and I walked over to the nearest tree. There were roughly thirty apples just on the one tree, and after going around the entire tree, I had three apples. Most of them already had holes in them, or were mushy but hadn’t fallen yet.
For the next half hour, Hailey and I made our way through every tree until there weren’t any apples left to pick. Both of our baskets were full, and so were our pockets.
“How many apples do you think you got?”I asked. Hailey peered into her baskets, then checked her pockets, until she finally looked back up at me.
“Around thirty. You?”
I peeked into my own basket and counted by twos.
“Twenty-one, plus six in my pockets, so twenty-seven.”
“Combining both of ours would feed two entire bus loads of hungry kids!”Hailey exclaimed. Although she was technically right, I still couldn’t resist the urge to roll my eyes.
“Yeah, it would. Now let’s get back up into your house, get away from the cold, and have some hot chocolate.” I raised my eyebrows in what I hoped to be a pleading manner.
Now for that word, I realized I knew it as I chased Hailey back to her house. While I tried to keep all of the apples in my pockets.