‘I want a nectarine tree.’

I stifled a chuckle. My young grandson sighed longingly.

My son shrugged. ‘We bought nectarines and now he says he wants his own tree.’

Oliver was staying with his dad for the school holidays. His mother lived interstate. New husband. New baby. She’d moved on. My son still struggled.

Light bulb moment! I searched my cluttered kitchen window sill. Yes, two nectarine pits I’d saved but they languished on my long list of unrequited ideas.

Oliver’s eyes grew. Despite distance and time between visits, he still thinks of me as a wise sage.

‘Come on.’ We found a large pot and bag of potting mix. I tipped some into the pot; Oliver smoothed it with a trowel. I made indents with an old fork and Oliver dropped the pits in.

‘Abracadabra,’ he said, covering them with more soil. I added a silent prayer.

My son watched, keeping a physical distance and an essence of remoteness but I sensed curiosity.

Over the ensuing three weeks, they visited most days, Oliver rushing to check the pot each time, adding water from the can I kept beside it. ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ he said each day, undeterred.

I chided myself for raising his hopes. The pits must’ve been older than I remembered.

My son didn’t hide his disdain, shook his head and walked away.

I so wanted them to grow, not only for Oliver but for my son who needed… something.

On flight day they arrived for one last hug. Oliver held me tight. His father stood back, looking ten years older.

As I walked Oliver to the car, he suddenly stopped. ‘The nectarine trees!’ He sped to the backyard.

My son sighed. I sighed. Then… ‘They’re growing! They’re growing!’

With Olympic speed we joined Oliver. Two slender green shoots rose from the soil.

‘You won’t let Grandma forget to water them, will you Dad?’

I saw a faint sparkle in my son’s haunted eyes. His arm went around my shoulder.

‘Grandma won’t forget,’ he said. ‘But I’ll help. Perhaps we’ll plant more seeds. Maybe a whole orchard.’

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2 years ago

A story of love and the inspirational magic of a single seed. Beautifully paced, with a powerful ending. 

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
2 years ago

Your story left a lump in my throat Sandra. It’s always sad when a relationship ends and one moves on faster than the other. I love how the nectarine shoots give her son a new sense of purpose and hope for the future.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
2 years ago

It’s the little things that help achieve a shared sense of hope. That comes across beautifully in your story. I was hoping throughout, along with your protagonists, that they would indeed grow. Lovely 🙂

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
2 years ago

Sweet story. Grandma trying to entertain her grandson ends up inspiring her son to struggle a little way out of the hole he’s stuck in. I hope Oliver’s nectarine tree grows. My experience doing similar things when my daughter was little was getting seed to sprout was tough, but getting the seedling to grow was harder. And one more thing, isn’t it best to crack the pit before you plant it? Good… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
2 years ago

I was inspired by the son’s love of the nectarine trees that give him hope for the future. I hope it will grow.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Sandra James
1 year ago

You’re most welcome, Sandra.

Brigitta Hegyi
Brigitta Hegyi(@brigitta-hegyi)
2 years ago

We have to pay attention to our nature. I, especially, feel better when I look around and see those beautiful green leaves, flowers and trees. It’s a beautiful story, with love and hope!  ? 

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza(@santina-forlenza)
2 years ago

Hi Sandra, the child in your story really knows what he wants. Not candies, not artificial nor commercial things. A tree, a true natural living being. And the waiting time turning seeds into a tree is full of wonder.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
2 years ago

The dynamic plotline ends impressively. Lovely one Sandra.

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