A long time ago, when Pae and I were first getting to know each other, we shared all kinds of things about ourselves...past experiences, current goals, lifelong dreams, and hopes for the future.
One of the past experiences she shared with me was a story about when she was a little girl and she picked a starfruit from a tree. She was intrigued by the cute little fruit and it's yellow and green waxy outer skin...It was so cute to her that she slept with it. She fell asleep and woke to its sweet fruity smell for several very happy days. You can imagine how the story goes...her disappointment as her fruity treasure softened and began to spoil...
Cute story, one that goes immediately to "film in my imagination". Around the same time, she also saw, one day in the super market, an apple. Not any ordinary apple, but to her, what must have seemed like the mother of all apples. A Japanese Giant Apple. These apples are a good 3-4 times as big as a normal Washington apple or Fuji apple. To a small girl of perhaps only 7 or 8 years old it must have seemed even larger, something you cradle like a doll rather than hold in your hand.
During that time of her life she wondered who would ever be able to buy such a fruit. When most apples were sold for a mere couple cents, these giant bright-red whoppers were tagged with prices 20-30 times higher. Every time she saw one of these in the market she thought about the day when she was "big" and could finally have one. For, certainly if she asked her mother to buy her one she would get the "why would I buy one of those for six dollars when we can get 30 of the smaller apples for the same price" response, or even worse, people would label her as wasteful or materialistic.
But it was curiosity, not mine is bigger and brighter than yours. It was a child's wide-eyed amazement at the beauty of nature. And it became one of her childhood dreams, to someday buy that big juicy apple for herself.
As the last couple years have passed and we have done grocery shopping together, we'll always pass the Japanese Giant Apples which are even bigger than the Korean pears and getting dang close to the size of a small cantaloupe. Pae's eyes will still widen and sparkle with an anticipation that has only grown since she was a little girl. We certainly have the means ( a couple bucks ) to just choose the brightest most perfect one and chop it up at home and fulfil her dream...but her dream had evolved and changed over the years, from "I want one" to "I want to buy one for myself...with my first paycheck".
Ah, bringing us to this past week! Pae received her first paycheck from her airline. She grabbed some cash from the ATM and we went to a market...the choices were a little disappointing and as she'd waited almost twenty years for this day, we decided she could wait a few more until we found the perfect apple. We decided on Saturday to go to the market closest to our apartment and search...we stopped by home first so she could grab a couple hundred baht for the purchase...her own money from her first paycheck.We walked straight to the fruit and produce section...Japanese Giant Apples glowing brightly even from 6 aisles away. We went through each and every apple there until we found the perfect one, no dents, no bruises...bright red, stem intact...big, hard and hopefully JUICY! We waited for the mob of workers to leave so we could document the experience on film and took a couple pictures. We've actually seen larger, but this one was still a good six inches in diameter.Pae had to fight the desire to sleep with her cute "little" apple the first night as it was like a cute little teddy bear just begging to be cuddled throughout the warm Bangkok night. She actually asked me if I thought the idea was ridiculous and I just laughed...I thought it was cute...I mean, I couldn't tell if it was the seven year old Pae asking me that question or the big girl Pae!A bunch of little kisses "good nights" later, the "little" apple was tucked away safely in the refrigerator. Sunday we shared the sweet juiciness of Pae's dream apple, and what may seem like a ridiculous waste of 6 dollars to some, was a dream come true and made a perfect Sunday spent together only better.