(A New Life, part 2) (see part 1)
For days after my walk in the village I had been sitting at the window, moping. Taking pity on me the doctor finally broke down and decided a little sunshine would do me good. He said, “For pity’s sake, would you stop that constant moaning and sighing? You’ll wake even more of the dead!”
Behind our house, out of sight from the street, there’s a walled garden. I’ve followed the paths with my eyes from the window, feasting on the sight of flowers, little trees and small ponds. I longed to explore it. The doctor said I could go out there for an hour every afternoon to get some sun and exercise.
It seemed an eternity as I waited at the door. For some reason the doctor wanted to make sure the gardener was someplace else on the property and not in the little walled enclosure. Finally he gave the word.
I walked out, stunned by all of the sights and smells. The flowers were so beautiful and air so fragrant! I picked a daisy and stood staring at it. The petals were very delicate. The doctor is a lover of life and told me to respect other life. He said, “What the hell are you doing? I spend good money for my garden to be a visual treat. I don’t need you destroying it with your grubby little hands!” He’s so nice and respectful! I promised I wouldn’t pick any more flowers, but that made me cherish my daisy all the more.
I walked on, the gravel crunching musically beneath my feet, snare drums and cymbals accompanying my stroll. The doctor must have appreciated the music for he muttered under his breath, “Graceful as a hippo.”
I turned a corner and to my delight saw a little tree with objects dangling from the branches. I realized these were small apples. Who knew? I love apples. I imagined the crisp, sweet taste as I watched the tiny fruit. I had read about apple trees but I never thought too deeply what the term actually meant. The doctor had explained fiction to me and I thought apple trees were a type of fantasy. How ludicrous, I thought, delicious treats hanging from branches. Now I saw they really exist.
How did they get there? Did the tree itself taste like apples? I placed my hand on the tree’s trunk and closed my eyes. I could feel the life rising from the roots and spreading from the leaves. The sun on the leaves made an energy like the electricity that woke me from my slumber. The roots brought nutrients from the soil to build the body of the tree like the doctor brought corpses from the soil to build the body I wear. I felt akin to the tree.
How did it do this, create fruit that satisfies man and monster? I knew if I understood the mystery of the tree I would solve the mystery of life. I had long pondered the meaning of my existence. The doctor answered my questions by telling me that the reason I existed was to further his research. It seemed there had to be more to it than that. He’s my creator and has some purpose, but is there a plan beyond the doctor? Is there a higher plan and purpose for the apple tree? I know the doctor had it planted here for his own pleasure but there seemed to be a purpose beyond what even the doctor did and thought. Perhaps if I understand a bit of the purpose of the tree I can understand the meaning of my own life.
I grasped the tree and gave a tug. The doctor let out a gasp. I pulled harder and heard a snap. The doctor shouted that I was killing it, destroying it. I realized too late that he was right. I dropped the lifeless tree and hung my head in shame. I want to be a creator of beauty, like the doctor, like the tree, but it seems that I have become a destroyer.
I turned to the doctor and wept, asking him to forgive me, I didn’t mean to harm the poor tree. He put a hand on my shoulder and said softly, “It’s OK, I should have known better. Clumsy and stupid. We need to go back in.”
Later, as I looked at my daisy and ate an apple, I thought to myself, what a wonderful, beautiful world.
After I posted “First Day Out” several people asked me to continue the story. I have written a few more segments.
Original Oil Paining by Trent P McDonald; digital manipulation (hand) by Frank?