20101111

orchard

But that's not why I'm lonely.

I have planted an orchard that provides an unlimited quantity of beautiful, ripe, delicious fruit. It's never out of season and it grows back as soon as someone picks it, so there's no harm in letting people wander the fields and pick and pick until they can't eat or carry any more. It's good enough to sell to the markets, and it never spoils and it doesn't cost anything more than time to gather, so I can sell it at incredibly low prices and still make a fortune. I've been the subject of considerable media attention and am seen as something of a hero, both locally and nationally. I've set up volunteer programs to gather fruit to send to the poor and the homeless.

At night I close the fields. Sometimes there will be parties in the orchard--some of the more picturesque areas of it, anyway--and they are always a success. When the merrymakers have gone, I walk alone among the trees, or sit among the remains of the evening's revelries. There is no one there to hear me or see me or watch me. Here, there is no one to tell me once again how brilliant I am, how grateful they are for what I've done, how glad that it was me and not someone else.

Maybe that should be enough. Maybe I should be happy to have some time to myself. But sometimes as the evenings wear on at the parties I find myself watching some couples talking quietly and excitedly, laughing at each other's jokes not because they are heroes but because they actually think they are funny. Some of them escape for what I'm sure they think are secret trysts among the endless rows of trees. And as I watch, I realize that I want that, too. But the only smiles and laughs I get are polite, because I am, as they always tell me, a great man. And every time I get another compliment about my work I distance myself from everyone else a little more, and I long for the loneliness of the trees just a little bit more.

1 comment:

Sue said...

You can definitely write. Sooner or later you will find your niche, and your voice will be heard.