There was only one tree in my grandma’s yard with sour apples. They were my mom’s favorite. Little green apples, with a sour so big, it almost bit you back. A sour that squeezed through your squinted right eye, then into your clenched jaw bone. And rummaged down the back of your throat.
What I loved most about them was that my grandma always had a brown paper sack filled to the top, with “Ivy” written in black permanent marker. I loved that she knew her daughter.
It was with that same care that my mother packed my school lunch. A little brown paper bag. Every day, since the second day of first grade. On my first day that year, the lunch lady made me eat a pickle. A pickle!!!! Worse than any green sour… Both of my eyes squeezed shut. In horror. In prayer. That this horrible thing would be forced down my throat.
As silly as it sounds, for me it was traumatic. And what I loved most about it, was the fact my mom never made fun of me. She knew me. She always let me eat grandma’s sweet apples. She packed my lunch every day. I saw my name. In black permanent marker. And I was loved. I was saved.
You just can’t pencil it in. This life. You have to really see people. Know them. Accept them. Love them. Love them with full, broad, permanent strokes. That is a love that never fades.