Remember that time when I fell out of that tree, she said. Those were the halcyon days, I said. That was the golden age, she said. Those were the best of times, I said. That was before dad died, she said. It was also before the time I took out the gun and there was that split second when dad’s skull looked like putty being stretched too hard in one direction. Those were the halcyon days, she said. I put my arm around her and fit it snug in the pocket of her shorts. I try to be happy, she said, and then she took a bite out of a peach. That’s all moldy, I said, and I took the peach, and I flung it behind the house where it belonged. She spent the rest of the day thinking about that peach, but it was gone.
Today was the day it happened - four years ago - but you can’t blame anyone for that. It’s too late now, I said. I feel like the leaves are coming in, she said. Let’s drive out to Alpharetta, I said. That’s where the peaches grow, she said. And the women wear big hats, I said. It was the day for it, so we loaded up the car, just two in the front seat. She put her arm around me as a joke. When we finally got to the spot, she bought a peach, and I took the peach and put it on the grave. Then we both kneeled, but not at the same time. You should smell the earth, I said.
That year things felt different than before. It’s because dad is moldy, she said. Is that what your nose told you, I said. Yes, she said, and she took a shovel. Six feet down and three across, I said. Two hours later, we were there. He looked swollen like a big peach, and she took him home and flung him behind the house where he belonged.
James Yoder is the son of Ana and Jim Yoder of Dallas, TX. Beyond his curricular pursuits at Harvard College where he pursues an A.B. degree in Statistics and a minor in the Classics, he is a writer and editor for the Harvard Lampoon, a magazine that publishes jokes. You can read his other piece in Issue Four here.