The apple of my eye

I don’t want to eat this apple.

As I rinse the Gala apple, I am disappointed. It’s surface is a dull red interrupted by an uneven patch of yellow. The lopsided globe is marred by bruises. It simply can’t compare to the shiny green luster of a Granny Smith.

I twist out the stem and bring the small, unwanted apple to my nose. I close my eyes and inhale.

I’m trying to trick my brain into appreciating this piece of fruit. Instead, the unremarkable scent has me imagining a bite of the absent Granny Smith. My teeth would break the skin, releasing tart juices onto my tongue. The crunch of each  subsequent bite would echo in my head. I would nibble off crispy white morsels until I reached the core. I would feel righteous eating such an apple, knowing how much healthier it is for me than a processed snack food.

Instead, I am feeling like a martyr. Sure, Gala apples were on sale at the grocery store, so I saved a few cents opting for this kind over the Granny Smith.  The two varieties were displayed side by side in the produce section. I was reaching for the luscious green apples when I was forced to buy the boring Galas.

It’s my son’s fault. You know, my autistic son who supposedly cannot pretend. “Lack of symbolic play skills” was one of the criteria for his diagnosis. It was one of the many things that the specialists told us that my son couldn’t do.

He was my shopping companion last Wednesday. He stood beside me as I scanned the Granny Smiths looking for apples without blemishes, the ones with the loveliest green curves.

I was reaching for the perfect specimen when Philip grabbed a Gala apple from the adjacent bin. He put it to his mouth and pretended to take a bite.

I have to buy this apple since Philip’s lips have touched it. I put it in a bag. While my hands are occupied with this task, he grabs a second apple and, complete with chomping sound effects, pretends to eat it. I am forced to purchase that one, too.

That’s why I’m washing an apple I never wanted. That’s why I’m taking a bite.

This is the sweetest tasting fruit I have ever eaten.

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44 thoughts on “The apple of my eye

  1. Ah, love the surprise of your ending. And the familiar but unfamiliar shopping scenario; grocery shopping with a child always leads to different purchases but the reason for yours is more profound than the usual.

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  2. Another parallel for you to consider… every mom wants the “perfect Granny Smith” in her cart. But many moms get what the world labels “lopsided globes marred by bruises” – the child who doesn’t seem to be as appealing as the one next to him. People may call your son the Gala, but he is most definitely the apple of your eye: cherished above all others, at the center of everything you see, a miniature reflection that requires steady gazing. I have always loved your writing, and your perspective. While some parents feel righteous raising their perfect-looking Granny Smiths, you know that even though you wouldn’t have picked the Gala for yourself, it is the sweetest fruit you’ve ever eaten. 🙂

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    1. Maybe I’ll have to try that variety next time. While (obviously) my favorites are Granny Smith, I only really have an aversion to completely yellow apples. There is no rational explanation for this. I’m not sure if I’ve ever even eaten one.

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  3. You know, as one of the ‘specialists’, I can tell you that they are often wrong. Clearly 🙂 One thing is for sure, if someone sees your child once and tells you what he will and will not be able to do over the course of his life, I would smile politely then go watch as your son proves that person wrong again and again! I love that he pretended to eat the apples 😀

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  4. I love it! Reminds me of Seinfeld. I can relate; when my mind is set on something, it’s set. Oh, the things we do for our children and it makes it all worthwhile 🙂

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  5. Very sweet. It’s start in a way that you think it’s going to be all about the apples and how disappointing this particular apple was. And then it takes a turn, becomes how you got there and then the apple was the sweetest. Very creatively told. 🙂

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