26th august 2003
after the Garden

They ran through the gate and out into the fields, jumping small streams and scattering grasshoppers from the grasses. It was dry here and dusty, and they didn't stop until they reached the shade of a plane tree on a hillock, where they sat down and looked out to the east. From here they could see that the country was sloping away down to a floodplain, and looked green and rich.
- Why are you smiling? he asked.
She opened her purse and looked at him.
- Guess what I've got.
- I dunno, what?
From the purse, she carefully took out a browned apple core, holding it so none of the seeds would fall.
He sat back in amazement.
- How did you . . . d'you think he knows you took it?
- I don't care if he does, but my guess is he was too angry to notice, and anyway he's new at this, wouldn't you say?
He frowned, and then chuckled.
- Think, she said. Apple pies, apple puddings. Apple preserves and apple wines.
He lay back and looked up into the branches, thinking of the winter to come and the fragrant steam from the oven.