Broeck's Apple

He raises the sumptuous orb to the clean white squares of his imperfectly aligned teeth and takes a bite. Masticating slowly, thoughtfully, he combs the fingers of his free hand through his matted hair and steps into the bright sunlight from the dimly lit entryway.

His pupils shrink hesitantly. Mobile homes lie in the dirt around him like fat bovines awaiting slaughter. Juice dribbles to the corner of his mouth where a sweep of his tongue brings it back, swallowing it with the meat of the apple. He knows that a pair of soft blue eyes follows his movements. He tempts them into the sunshine by simply standing there in the middle of the hot afternoon.

Another bite of the apple disappears into his mouth. A screen door slams. Though the noise comes from behind him, he remains motionless. The waiting kills him. Not that you would know it. His exterior is cool as though he’s channeling the nearby brook and the damp early mornings of the April past.

The thin frame of a young man about his age appears. The breeze that lifts the sparse blades of grass spotting the insignificant piece of land also delicately twists the locks of his hair with invisible fingers. The clean, freshly showered scent of this second boy is carried through the currents of air, to the first, who inhales deeply and sucks at the golden apple in his hand.

“What are you doing?” queries the first, softly, without turning around.

“Nothing.”

The two of them stand, side by side and gaze through the space of the dusty trailer park that stretches only a short distance before it is cut off by the silent road. The half-finished apple passes from the hand of the first figure to the mouth of the second, who takes a taste with a wet crunch that seems to echo much louder in their heads than it does in reality. Their eyes lock for the first time that day with a mutual understanding of the words unspoken.

“Finish it,” says the first, backing away, turning towards the safety of his humble residence.

The second takes another bite before he answers, “Thanks.”

They share a final smile, and part. They have shared in a single apple. But as each glances back to the spot where they stood together on the patch of parched ground, he is full.

The End

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