It was the last peach left in the box, and it was the largest, most perfect, luscious peach I’d ever seen. I quickly grabbed it and scurried away.
Lovingly, I washed it and set aside not one, but two, paper towels to eat along with it: knowing it would be so succulent, that rivers of its wonderful nectar would, surely escape out of the sides of my mouth. That night I dreamed of eating my peach.
In the morning I made my lunch and gently placed my beautiful peach inside my lunch bag. Smiling, I thought about eating it outside, beneath a tree, in the sunshine, at lunch. I sauntered happily to the bus stop and gingerly placed my lunch bag next to me on the bus bench.
I thought about my wondrous peach on the bus ride - how there wasn’t a puncture mark, a bruise or a blemish on its skin. My mouth tingled with anticipation. I revelled in the fact that this peach was perfect and I was going to be eating it.
The bus lurched to a stop. I looked and halfway down the street was a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk. Then a strange feeling bubbled up my spine and gently landed in my head. The feeling morphed into a small, soft, insistent voice advising me that I needed to give my peach to him.
I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it…
I balked, unable to accept my terrible luck… the irony of it all.
I debarked the bus and shuffled to the crosswalk, my brain wanting to cross the street but my feet kept walking towards him, the voice quietly encouraging me. As I kept walking towards him my brain rebelled, telling me to run! run! with my peach. Instead my feet stopped next to him.
Silently, he looked up at me. I sighed and finally knelt down in front of him. I slowly brought the peach out of my lunch bag and held it lovingly in my hands, turning it this way and that, admiring it… torturing myself.
Finally, I lowered the peach and looked him in the eye.
“It was the last one you know. I love peaches.”
He stayed silent.
“I was so looking forward to eating it, I can’t believe it,” I said, shaking my head.
Still, he said nothing.
Reverently, I handed him the peach. With dirty, cracked, rough hands he gently cupped it.
“You’ll be needing these,” I said, handing him the paper towels.
I took one last look at the peach.
“You’re a lucky guy you know.”
He nodded his head solemnly.
I stood up and slowly walked away.
At the end of the block I looked back and he was still cupping the peach, looking at me.
And when I remember that day, it occurs to me that he gave me a greater gift than I gave him.