a short story
Living life is a thrilling adventure, but its recounting is often much blander. It often comes off like a jumble of routine events, because it is a jumble of routine events. The tale may appear mild, but there’s a melody to it, a lyrical aspect, that I couldn’t resist sharing. Enjoy.
Mostly Based on Actual Events
With a few minutes to ten,
with the lights switched off,
having already brushed my teeth,
using a fork and knife,
I prepared to eat a ripe peach.
Two Days Before
My father brought my attention to the peaches sitting in the fruit area. “Hey, do you want a peach?”
I squeezed one of the peaches to test its ripeness. “No, these are too hard. I think they’ll be good tomorrow, though.”
“Come on! Are you chickening out?”
“No, they’re just too hard. You can have one if you’d like.”
He takes a peach. As he eats it, I can see it’s too crunchy for my taste, but he seems to be enjoying it.
One Day Before
“Do you want a peach for breakfast?” my father asked.
“No, I’ll have one later today. But I’m looking forward to eating one.”
Of course, “later today” never came.
That night as I lay in my bed, attempting to fall asleep, I remembered: the peach. Oh well, I thought to myself. I’ll eat one tomorrow.
The Day Of
During breakfast and lunch that day, the peaches lay forgotten, even by my father. But dinner was another story. After the main meal, he selected one of the peaches and offered to share it with the other family members.
My brother accepted the offer, but I declined it. I would eat my own peach, all by myself.
I think they enjoyed the peach. It looked very juicy.
It was my job to clean the kitchen, which I did dutifully. I rearranged some of the kitchenware to fit better in the dishwasher, which I set and added a soap pellet to. Then what couldn’t fit in the dishwasher, I washed by hand. I wiped down the table and countertop. I was having Alexa play the Hamilton soundtrack, and I was singing along for much of it.
But as I was about to dustbust the floor, I finally remembered: the peach. I selected the finest of the remaining peaches, washed it, and put it onto a plate, along with a fork and knife.
Why a fork and knife?, you may ask. You don’t need any utensils to eat a peach. But when you eat decently juicy peaches without any utensils, the juice drips onto your hand, meaning you have to wash your hands afterward. But if you use a fork and knife, your hands stay completely clean. It’s one of my top ten life hacks.
I sat down and prepared to eat, when I was interrupted.
“Mandatory family walk!” my father announced. “Mandatory family walk!”
“But I’m just about to eat this peach!”
“Mandatory family walk!”
Oh well, I thought. I’ll eat the peach after. I put on my shoes and joined the rest of my family on the walk.
But when the end of the walk came, we went to the living room, where we watched TV.
By the time the show finished, it was nearly ten o’clock. I brushed my teeth, put on my Invisalign, put on pajamas, wrote in my diary, and prepared to go to bed.
But as I strode into the kitchen to check my messages, I saw it.
The prudent thing to do would have been to put the peach back. I had already brushed my teeth; in fact, my Invisaligns were on, and I wasn’t even hungry. But we aren’t put here on this world to do the prudent thing.
There was something romantic about the idea of eating that peach. I mean romantic in the more traditional sense: the fruit was calling to me, an idealized concept of utopian joy springing from it. Accidentally, my entire activities of the previous two days bordered on conspiratorial against the peach, a quest to prevent it from being eaten. Eating that peach would provide the beautiful, cathartic solace that rendered void the prudent thing to do.
Either way, the peach was calling.
Yet as I took off my Invisalign, sat down, and cut into the peach, a thought occurred to me. The whole matter with the peach had an elegance, a certain quality to it that inspired its transformation into a short story. In fact, tho I hadn’t written a short story of my own free volition (i.e. not school-related) in ages, this would be an exception.
Living life is a thrilling adventure, but its recounting is often much blander. It often comes off like a jumble of routine events, because it is a jumble of routine events. The tale may appear mild, but there’s a melody to it, a lyrical aspect, that I couldn’t resist sharing.
Sure, it was late. But good ideas for short stories are rare, and deserve to be brought to full fruition whenever they are born.
I sat down at my computer and started writing.
The peach could wait. I would eat it the next day.