Issue Forty-Three - Winter 2024

A Cameo Apple

by Soman Qadeer Khan

A cameo apple lived a prosperous life on a farm called Ocean Farm. He grew on a tree which was the pride of the farm, as it was the most magnificent and oldest tree.

The owner’s child named the apple Meo, and loved him mightily.

James, the farm owner, was a ruthless and prideful man. His workers hated him, yet Meo loved him as he was the only apple James wouldn’t sell. Meo looked up to James as if he was a divine being, and thanked god each day for letting him live such a blissful life.

Each day, James would brag to his workers about visiting the ocean. James was crazy for the beauty of ocean, and so Meo followed him in this as well.

Although the farm was named for the ocean, it was a long journey to the sea. Soon, Meo had only one dream: to see the ocean himself, before he fell from the tree, and rotted. Each day, he prayed to god to turn him into a human just for one day so that he could admire the ocean, as James did.

One morning, Meo awoke to find his soul living in the body of James. At first, he thought, “It is a dream!” But after giving himself a shake, he knew it was an opportunity, granted by god.

First, to find his own apple-body. He went to the tree and found the beautiful apple hanging from a branch, spinning rapidly. Meo leaned a ladder against the tree, climbed it, and examined the apple closely. He felt a spark as soon as he touched it, and knew that James’s soul must be inside. Delighted, he picked the apple from the tree, and brought it with him, to visit the ocean.

Throughout the journey, Meo spoke to James. He told the James-inside-the-apple of his love for James, how he liked to listen to James speak, and liked to watch James in his day-to-day life.

Of course, James was silent.

At last, they reached the ocean, and Meo ran here and there on the sand, with James inside his bag.

Meo was happy.

The next morning, he awoke to find himself back in his apple-body. He giggled, and shouted, “Yes!”

But James spoke harshly. “You dare to love me, to speak to me? You are pathetic. As if I have no one else who would admire me except you, a useless apple. The only reason you are still here is that my son wants to eat you. Agh, agh, I am disgusted.”

Meo didn’t stop to wonder how James could suddenly hear him. He was speechless at how dreadful James was in reality. He felt ugly, for admiring such a person.

He sent one final plea to god: “Oh! The great divine, please help me make this man walk on a rightful path oh! The great Divine!”

And then at once he found his soul again in James’s body. He smirked. What a turn of events!

He stopped the car, took James-the-apple out of the bag, and ate the apple, in just a few bites. “Hmm, I was tasty indeed!” Meo said.

At home again, he saw James’s son, the boy who had raised him, so lovingly, in his apple form. The child hugged his father in delight. “Father,” he said, “I want to eat Meo now!”

His father ruffled his hair. “Hm, what to do?” he said. “I disposed of Meo,” he told his son. “He was rotten. A rotten ma – , a rotten apple. Rotten all the way through.”

Copyright Khan 2024