Sweet Peach

“Are you sure you won’t have some cobbler?”

“You know I hate peaches.”

There was a coldness in Howard’s voice. He hates peaches, almost irrationally. So I can’t understand why he bought this farm with the old peach orchard.

Then again, maybe it’s because of this orchard, with mostly sour peaches, that he hates the fruit. He had purchased it during his marriage to his first wife. She had left him for another man, eleven years ago. Nobody has heard from her since.

I often wonder if the orchard had been her idea, but Howard never talks about it. So I just enjoy the few good fruit myself. In the entire orchard, only one tree bears sweet peaches. Perhaps it’s a different variety. But surely the others would do better if they were cared for. Then we could get back some of his investment.

“You know, you could at least fertilize the other trees. If we could get the fruit just a bit sweeter, we could sell them at the stand. It doesn’t have to be expensive fertilizer.”

Howard ignores me. This isn’t the first time I regret living with him. Can’t say I blame his first wife for leaving.

“How much trouble could it be? Just dig a little, and dump some fertilizer in around the roots. It’s a shame to let the trees go to waste.”

He gets up and goes outside. After finishing my helping of cobbler, I start clearing off the table. I hear the door open again.

“If you’re so keen on getting them trees fertilized, do it yerself!”

I turn around, about to say I’ll do just that. I look into the barrel of his hunting rifle.

“Women! It’s about all they’re good for…”

I realize, too late, where his last wife had gone.

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