Mel, the lemon
I showed up at Mel’s doorstep with a lemon tree and a shovel, six weeks after she’d kicked me out for good.
“I know you don’t believe in presents for the kid,” I said “But it’s her birthday, damn it, and I’d like to teach her a little something about life.”
Mel’s kid was turning 11 and was what some people might refer to as an old soul. We went out to the garden, me, Mel and the kid, and they watched as I planted the tree. The kid thought we should say prayer for it, but none of us knew any, so she suggested we just “stand there and look at it contemplatively.”
“We might have done that anyways, kiddo, but there’s no reason why we can’t do it with intention.”
After tucking the kid into bed, Mel came down, poured herself a tall glass of Cabernet and sat across the kitchen table from me. “I’m not going to take you back, Knox.”
“What about the kid? She loves me and I love her, almost as much as I love you.”
“Maybe you love us. Maybe you just think we’re gonna save you from your rootless existence. It doesn’t matter. I don’t love you back and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna raise my daughter around a man that doesn’t know how to be a man.”
When I left that night, I went around the back of the house, pulled that lemon tree out of the ground then threw it into the bed of my truck. I really had wanted to teach the kid something about life and was tickled by the double meaning – she could learn about how things grow same time she learned about what to do when life gives you lemons. Guess I wound up teaching her something else entirely.
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