Across the alley, there’s a peach tree. It lives in a neighbor’s backyard, but its branches droop over a high fence into the alley, just out of reach.
The first summer we lived here, an abundance of peaches filled its branches. Uncared for, they dropped into the alley where they rotted. We wanted to pick them, but we didn’t know our neighbors and were too timid to ask. The next year, we swore, we would go after the peaches.
But summer came again, and there were no peaches. The ensuing research suggested that neglected peach trees will produce many peaches one season, and then none the next. K checked out books on tree pruning from the library. We prepared for the next year.
When Spring arrived, we thinned the peaches, so that the remaining would be the most sweet, juicy, delicious peaches ever tasted. Countless discussions decided the fate of the peaches. Peach cobbler? Peaches and cream? Peach bellinis?
The house across the alley came up for sale and the neighbors moved out. With the house empty, our time had finally come; we wouldn’t even have to ask, or steal them in the dead of night. We waited and waited and waited, the peaches turning from dull green to vibrant pinks and yellows.
A family of three just came by and stole all the peaches. Their son climbed on top of the fence and picked all that were reasonably in reach. I watched from the window as they collected them in an upturned umbrella. They weren’t even ripe yet.