Carmichael Crespo, 11th - Newbury Park, CA
He sat in the window of the monastery staring at the barren landscape below. From here he could see a cart of fruit had been knocked over in some accident with an automobile. The driver and the fruit vendor were shouting at each other.
What none of these people would ever know was one apple rolled down a hill and into a stream outside a small house. Next to this steam was a rickety homemade dock where a man liked to sit and fish. He saw the apple tumble into the stream and thought, if cleaned, it could make a good snack. So, he rolled up his pants to his knees and leaned his fishing rod against an oak tree. The water was warm and smooth, rushing calmly past his legs. He plunged his arm in and grabbed the apple. Only after sitting back down on the edge of the dock did he really look at it and notice the large black spot on it. After a moment of consideration, he tossed the apple over his shoulder and resumed fishing.
Some years later this man passed away and his home was inherited by his sister. She and her son moved into this house and made the town with the monastery at the top of the hill their home. A short walk, but uphill both ways from the house, was the town’s small school. This is where the son would attend first grade, then second, then third. His favorite thing in school was this one girl.
It was around this time he took notice of the apple tree growing near the creek. The dock had long since withered away into an unrecognizable, natural-looking tangle of sticks, but the fruit nonchalantly thrown over the shoulder had now produced a good-sized tree. It had yet to bear fruit, but it looked healthy. Something in the son’s chest told him this tree was important, a symbol of meaning overcoming happenstance.
By the time the boy was in high school, the tree had born generations of apples. It was no coincidence that the girl found the boy’s way of caring for this tree charming, and an interest grew.
There was one afternoon when the boy walked to the tree to collect a fresh batch of apples when a very kind and very welcome face met his gaze. They talked and laughed as they picked the apples together. Though they had been in school together for years, they had never talked like this before. It was an honest conversation, full of welcome tangents and open observations that proved their trust to each other. This became an after-school tradition, to meet at this apple tree and discuss every small detail of their days. This tradition continued throughout their marriage and parenthood. Their children ate the apples from this tree too.
The son would never know the true reason why he got to have that conversation with the girl. As a matter of fact, by the time anyone bothered to look into this, just about everyone involved in that forgettable accident was long gone.
There are people that wouldn’t exist without that tree, and the tree would have never existed if not for a peckish fisherman, who would never have had the opportunity to grab that apple out of the stream and toss it over his shoulder if the cart had not been overturned. The man in the monastery window would be surprised to hear just how important the events he witnessed that day- and every day- truly were… and are.
Students 6th-12th Grades