An apple a day


Momma donít want me home because she canít feed me.

So I sit outside the fruit and vegetable stand and wait.

I donít beg.

Poppa taught me better than that.

But I watch everybody that comes and goes from this store until I see one I know will not finish the fruit heís started and I follow him.

You develop a knack for knowing his kind.

It isnít the guy with the work shirt on. He knows how valuable his apple or pear is, how hard heís worked to get it and knows if he throws any of it away, heís worked for nothing.


Itís the guy with the suit and tie I watch, even the ones with threadbare sleeves Ė those types we used to call ďcollege boysĒ because of all they education they went and got to they could start out in jobs on top rather than having to earn their way up the way poppa done.

If one of these guys still have a job, then he throws half an apple away just to show he can, and I snatch it up.

The ones without a job eat a little more but still throw away the core, and I grab that, too.

I donít ask for it or beg. I got too much pride for that, though I would get a clean core if I did.

I wait and pick it out of the dust, then sneak off somewhere to watch it off, then eat every bit of it Ė Iím always THAT hungry.

Poppa would kill me if he knew and knowing would kill him because heís got pride enough to know he canít provide right for us.

Momma knows and pretends she doesnít, figuring we got to eat somehow, and eating something is better than eating nothing, and I make sure I eat it all, even the seeds, hoping I can at least eat enough to keep alive.



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