Perched on the highest limb of the apple tree the boy can see further, clearer than ever.
Anger places him in the tree. His older brother, Adam, his hero, his best friend, his confidant has turned on him. Adam laughed at him, blurting out his closest secret for the family to hear. To a 10-year old boy’s soul, this is the ultimate betrayal.
And so here he is glaring out over trees and fields with his back pressed into a crook of the tallest tree in his father’s apple orchard.
When next the boy glances down, Adam stands in the orchard holding something shiny. It’s the harmonica he gave Adam last Christmas. Is Adam here to play him an apology?
Before the boy can move from his perch, a second figure enters the orchard, steps up to Adam, and shyly kisses his cheek. Adam hands her the harmonica, they leave the orchard arm in arm.
Stunned, the boy’s eyes trace their path as they leave. Not an apology, but another stab. He lays his head back against the tree and cries.
Soon he hears approaching footsteps and looks down to see his father standing, waiting beneath a neighboring tree. Has his father come looking for him? No, the truth emerges. Through the trees comes a young lady, the daughter of their neighbor.
She quickly reaches his father, they cling together, tearing at one another. Looking at them through the cross-hatched branches he sees clothing, then flesh, then all disappear as they fall to the tall grass of the orchard.
He understands. He doesn’t understand. He has seen dogs and horses act the same way, and yet, this is his father.
He looks across orchard and fields toward his home, where his mother stands at the edge of their yard. In the blaze of the sunset, he sees the glisten of a tear on her cheek.
When dark descends and the orchard is draped in black, the boy slips to the ground to stand beside the silent sentinel that witnessed the loss of his childhood.
Head bowed, he slowly trudges home.
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Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
2 years ago

How poignant! You tell so much of the story of the boy’s descent into a demoralised pre-teen existence, and in so few words. Very thought -provoking story

musing mind
musing mind(@musing-mind)
2 years ago

Lovely story.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
2 years ago

“When dark descends and the orchard is draped in black…” This particular phrase paints an incredible scene in all the readers’ minds.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
2 years ago

So, so sad, evoking memories of those childhood events that devastate yet ultimately shape you. I just want to reach out and hug him as I am sure his poor mother did! Thank you for a beautiful story.

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

This is a very touching story, you get the feeling of a boy who is forced to grow up too quickly. Nicely written.

Eden Pela
Eden Pela(@eden-pela)
2 years ago

“To a 10-year old boy’s soul, this is the ultimate betrayal…” This perfectly describes how I felt when my brother would report my bad deeds to my mother, as a child. You have represented the boy’s mind perfectly. Keep it up!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
2 years ago

Hello Susan, I don’t think that I could comment any further on what has already been said, except to say that I admire your bravery in telling this story. Wonderfully written and expressed.

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

Hello Susan. I’d not read your story before but just listened to your recording. What stayed with me was the young boy’s loss of innocence and his mother’s sadness. Not an easy subject to write about but you handled it brilliantly. And I really enjoyed hearing you read it.

2 years ago

A wonderfully written coming of age story – tender and tragic. Your audio presentation made it even better. You have the perfect voice for reading these stories – hope you do many more!

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

Hi Susan, I enjoyed your audio recording of this story. It’s been a treat to hear a new voice. This story still touches my heart.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
2 years ago

I agree with Carrie, Susan. Your story, especially told in your own voice, goes straight to the heart. Thanks for taking the time to record it.

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