This is a short story I wrote in my spare time last year, spurred on by an excellent English teacher I had at the time. Thoughts?
Maya had spent her entire life searching for her “Other Half”. Her high school career was spent deflecting questions from her mother about “bringing home a nice boy” and being asked for help on her classmate’s homework. Maya knew that her mother would laugh at her optimism, (the sudden departure of Maya’s father had affected her profoundly) so she kept up with her muttered responses and non-committal answers, forcing her mother to pretend more and more that she really knew who her daughter was.

Maya followed her dream, her more public dream, and went to a prestigious pre-med program in Washington, in hopes of becoming a pediatrician, but her valedictorian speech contained nothing about how she didn’t really want to go to Washington at all, and how much she hated being “the smart one”. It didn’t say anything at all about her dream to be a farmer’s wife, homeschooling her children and hauling their harvest to market.
But go to Washington she did, and she didn’t hate it as much as she thought she would. She planted a garden, and bonded with a few other women who had rented plots of land in the same area. They talked almost daily, but Maya didn’t know anything about them other than this one’s penchant for radishes, and that that one sometimes shared her homegrown grapefruits with the other girls. She noted with some dismay that she was the youngest by far, and one of a few ones who wasn’t married.

Things continued like this for almost three years. Maya gardening, visiting her mother only when she had to, staying in as often as she could. She used some grant money she got because of her grades to rent her own tiny house on the edge of town, where she planted fruit trees and left out bowls of food for the stray dogs and cats in the neighborhood. Most of the trees were tiny, but she purchased a single semi-mature apple tree, hoping to have a crop as early as next year.
She always shied away from getting a pet, though, because she didn’t want the responsibility, so she was surprised when a dog that had been hit by a car turned up in her meager front yard, and she found herself carrying it inside to help ease its final moments. She didn’t know if it was a feral dog or not, but it waited patiently, still unable to stand, while she got a blanket to wrap it in, and it calmed down when she held its head in her arms. The dog died, of course, the Mercedes had made sure of that, but Maya still felt sick to her stomach having watched it.

Maya buried the dog with the blanket in her backyard, at the base of the still growing apple tree. She sat, staring at the mound of dirt until well after it got dark, before going back inside and resuming her studying.

A year later, the tree had fully matured, and Maya brought apples to share with the women at the garden.

No comments: