Saturday 24 June 2023

'The Peach Tree' by Nisha Patel

I remember the juicy first bite of the peach I picked from the garden that morning before everything changed. I remember buying and planting the seed to grow that peach tree. I remember the thud and squelch of overripe peaches rotting in the ground in the first year. I remember the swell of pride in finally picking the perfect peach in the third year. I remember the shock and surprise of such an amazing taste. I remember wondering why it tasted so good. I remember the two lines on the pregnancy test. I remember thinking how that explained a lot of things. I remember not wanting to tell anyone just yet. I remember doing another two tests just to be sure. I remember being so happy with my ballooning tummy. I remember being pampered and indulged. I remember the big grey contraption called a pushchair. I remember it being heavy. I remember being strong. I remember being so happy. I remember not wanting anything else ever again. I remember the first bite of the peach every year. I remember it being very bitter one year. I remember it being the year everything changed. Again. I remember getting two goldfish. I remember the pain of their deaths. I remember the pain of all their deaths. I remember the blue sirens lighting up the living room. I remember the bare peach tree flashing blue. I remember the stretchers, with two tiny bodies. I remember the rotting peaches in front of the ambulance. I remember the news story of a disillusioned young man going on a shooting rampage. I remember the neighbours crowding round and gawping. I remember the smell of their musky sweaty hair on a hot summer night. I want to etch that memory only, in my mind, forever. 

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