Barely legal, the seedling sat close to the edge of the road. It was a casual accident—the product of a fruit core chucked from a passing car in hopes of feeding deer. It wasn't the deer that ate the discarded flesh—it was the ants, who left the poison laden seeds remain until one germinated.
It strove to grow tall with the aid of kind summers. Fate smiled and bathed the tree with warm sunlight and gentle rain but the tree could break free of the bounds given by it's father, a grafted monster forced into lines for mechanical benefit. It was hard to imagine cruelty in such an environment filled with luscious red fruit.
So the stems bent as if feeling the pain from it's ancestors. The fruit was green and lumpy and had a sweetness that was only tasted by wildlife. The ants that feasted on the core left generations to raid crooked branches in search of freshly rotted fruit. Its ragged leaves would roll with the punches of commerce as they roared by.
In the afternoon I discover it's still there—I had seen it's promise when I was a teen. I caressed the fruit, caressing the lumps that grew from the tangled branches. Bringing it to my lips I could taste the salt of the earth upon it left over from the roadway. I lacked the courage to take a bite because I hadn't a chance to make it right.