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The Apple Tree

By: Stephie

There was a huge grin on your face when you showed it to me yesterday---a precious souvenir from America that you hope will take root here in your native soil. Nothing more than a twig really, with but a few newly sprouted leaves. You said you soaked it in water for 48 hours, just to see if it will live.

I almost laughed, who would be crazy enough to plant apple trees in this hot, humid climate? While everyone else has papaya and guava trees, you want to grow apples in our front lawn.

Then again, we have English roses in the garden-- their life spans a lot shorter than locally grown ones, but still, you water and tend these flowers like they were given to you by the Queen herself. In full bloom, the red, white and yellow roses are quite sight...except that they wilt too quickly, way before nosy neighbors could have a chance to stare and admire their beauty.

Now, you planted an apple tree, another piece of the American Dream you try to take home everytime you fly in from Los Angeles. The whole house already smells and feels American eventhough we live in the middle of verdant rice fields in Bulacan.

I remember you saying its best to live away from the city because life in America was already too fast and too frantic for you. How come you still bring back a part of that life in huge balikbayan boxes and LBC crates? Everything from curtains to plates! You didn't miss anything. Even our fabric softener and dishwashing paste comes from the States, or, we get the American brands when we shop at Waltermart.

Would you want us to start picking our own apples, Dad? I wanted to ask as I see you hunched over the scraggly twig. Sweating profusely under the harsh sun, you planted the cutting in fertile ground, carefully selecting a shady portion in the garden.

Apple trees gives good shade, you reassured me. You could have planted a Talisay.

And then softly, with the hum of the vacuum running on high speed, you tell me you're flying back again to LA before Christmas.


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