|He was picking apples from my favorite tree. That was how it began, and how it ended.
We met at sunrise, on a crisp, clear morning when the leaves had just begun their slow and colorful death. Headed to the garden to water the flowers, I noticed him on a ladder in the orchard, arms full of apples. The only thing that stopped me from tipping the ladder on the thief and allowing him to topple over was the sheepish grin on his face when he glanced at me. Climbing down, he offered me some fruit.
From that day forward, we would meet in the orchard every morning, sharing a breakfast of fresh apples and watching the leaves change hues. It intrigued me that I knew nothing about him, but he remained silent when I inquired about his family, his home, his life. In fact, he never spoke; not aloud, at least.
I think it was through the apples that we communicated. They seemed to hold a secret, some quality that could not be defined. It was magic, maybe love.
This continued for nearly a month. I ceased to ask him futile questions, instead telling him all about my dreams, my most inner thoughts. I felt that we shared a deep connection beyond the magic offered by the apples. When I spoke to him, it was as though he could predict my words. I began to believe that he was an extension of my soul.
Since I met him, I had only entered the orchard at sunrise. It was not spoken, only understood, that morning was the proper time, the sacred time.
One afternoon, however, I found myself emotionally afflicted; I needed to let out my anguish on his sympathetic ears. Running into the orchard, brown leaves crunching raucously under my feet, I saw him on the ladder leaning against my tree. The light of the sunset hit him, and I believe I truly saw him for the first time. The secret smile was gone, replaced by the sneer of a criminal. I cried out in dismay, and he looked at me with hatred. "What are you staring at?" His voice was harsh and cruel.
I was filled with disbelief—this could not be the sensitive boy for whom I had fallen so completely. The magic was gone. He glared at me for seconds more, and then disappeared over the wall. I sank to the ground in despair, gazing at the place where I had seen him last. Suddenly, his head popped up again, and I saw that rueful grin. He tossed me an apple, and was gone.