I buy apples for the deers that live in the woods behind our house. I usually get the little ones. They come in plastic bags of ten and twelve at the supermarket. I’m not sure how much they cost. Five dollars, maybe six.
That’s the kind of life I live now. I just get fruit without checking the price. Add a sack to the top of my grocery cart when I’m shopping. I have enough money. If and when I’m making a list, I might jot down ‘apples.’ I use parentheses and write ‘some for us’ and ‘some for my friends,’ with a smiley face in the margin. We all like different varieties.
I don’t mind admitting that I come from a place of such hunger where, often times, I paid for my wine in quarters.
I love when our dogs follow me out to the backyard. They chase each other and watch me toss apples over the fence.
He limps behind several other young bucks, all with new, velvety horns. That’s how I can see that they’re boys. One of his front legs is lame. He tries to hold it tightly to his chest, but it dangles without purpose as he stumbles along on his three remaining spindles. Nancy next door let me know he was there. She sent a text message as soon as she saw them this morning.
“Oh, no,” I say, as I watch from the window.
My children are eating their breakfast. Pop tarts and yogurt, the kind that comes with its own granola.
“What’s the matter?” Rory asks.
“It’s a deer. His leg looks so broken.”
“Wait. Broken? Mom, we have to call someone. Animal Control.”
He begins searching my phone, as if I have that number on speed dial. As if he’d know what to do when they answered the call. As if they’d come immediately with the ability to make things better.
“It’s not that easy,” I tell him. “He doesn’t want our help.”
So you’re not gonna do anything?”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“You probably need to stop with the apples,” Rory adds.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
I stand there for several minutes, until the slow moving group disappears beyond Jennifer’s shed.
None of this is my fault. I say these words inside my head, to comfort myself.
* Artwork: Young Deer by Tamer Marzio