Issue Thirty-Six - Summer 2020


By John Brantingham

You’re lying on the couch, pains shooting through you. Cyndi’s in the next room making tea and cutting up a pear. You figure you have two months more to live if the doctors are right, and you’re guessing they are.

This, it seems, is probably a moment for contemplation, and when you think back to childhood, you realize your best memory is that pear you had one day when you were four or five, the flavor more complex than any other fruit you’d ever had. Your dad handed it to you. You must have been on a trip because there was snow on the ground, but you lived in California.

Cyndi comes in and puts the plate with the cut-up pear on the table next to you, and you say, “You know, I think my earliest memory was of a pear.”

“Yeah,” she says. “The one Grandpa gave you when you were a kid.” She places the tea next to you too. “Why do you think I cut that up for you?”

You shake your head. “When did I tell you about that?” You thought you’d forgotten about it until just now.

She looks up at the popcorn ceiling. “I don’t know. I was pretty little. You handed me a pear and told me about it. It’s one of my favorite memories.”

So all right, you think. That’s it. That’s the circle. The only thing left is to eat your fruit and let everything happen as it’s going to happen. You must have worked through the other four stages, you suppose. So you pick up a slice and lift it to your nose. It smells of childhood and love. You bite into its complexity and think about nothing.

Copyright Brantingham 2020