“Adie” by Jay Merill
I was staring at this peach on the fruit stall but not because I wanted to eat it. Well, maybe I did a little bit but I never had any money on me at the time. I felt in my pockets and as usual, they were empty. You know something, I’ve never eaten a peach before in my life. How sad is that? Makes me feel like a fool.
But I should be saying who I am. My name’s Adie and I live, well let’s just say somewhere near the River. I’ve got a nice little tucked-away spot off the Strand but I’m keeping the whereabouts to myself or I’ll soon have unwanted company.
The peachskin looked dry and furry, mauvy-pink on one side and a bit yellowy on the other. Then all at once a shadow fell over the mauve half, and this was because the afternoon was getting on and the shadow was where the awning of the stall came to.
That’s just like the world, I thought. Night and day in two different places at the same time. And the shaded part got darker as though it was past midnight on that side, and the other part got more sunny. And then I don’t know what came over me. Without even looking to see if anybody was watching I leaned over, grabbed the peach and walked away. Nobody called out so I was lucky. I felt excited about finding out what a peach tasted like at last. Then you know what, I couldn’t eat it.
I kept the peach in my pocket. After a few weeks had gone by it got all dry and wrinkled and I thought, this is what happens to a person too when they get old. So I took the peach down to the gardens by the River. It was a warm evening for November and I buried the peach in one of the flowerbeds. And I felt good about that. Like I’d planted something and added to the universe, you know. Maybe a peach-tree would grow and in years to come people would look at it and admire it. But also it seemed like the right thing to do as the peach looked dead now and when people die they get buried, as do animals. So why not a peach I thought. As it had been alive once, just the same.
Didn’t say a prayer or anything as I’m not religious really. But, well I did get this funny feeling. As though we on earth were all connected, and like each one of us was part of this vast cosmic spirit or something. I don’t know. Strange though, if it wasn’t for the peach I’d never have thought of all this. But it was just my mood I guess.
I sat by the earthy patch for some time then set off home, going straight along by the River and turning inwards. Night had come fast. There was a sharp wind blowing.
First published in the Big Issue
First published in the Big Issue
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Jay Merill Artist Statement:
Jay Merill is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and the winner of the Salt Short Story Prize. She has 2
short story collections published by Salt (Astral Bodies and God of the Pigeons) and has been
recently published in 3 AM Magazine, Berfrois, The Big Issue, Bunbury Magazine, The Casket of
Fictional Delights, Crannog Magazine, Flight Journal, The Galway Review, Litro, Minor Literature[s],
The Nottingham Review, Platform for Prose, The Pygmy Giant, SmokeLong Quarterly, Story Shack
and TMO Magazine. She lives in London and is Writer in Residence at Women in Publishing.