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An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away (Short Story)

by Sydney Von Hacht, Grade 9, NSW

I awoke groggily, rolling onto my side and cringing as pain shot through my body. It was this that always triggered my line of thoughts in the morning. I opened my eyes slowly, my sight blurred slightly as my eyes adjusted to the light streaming in through an open window.

The first thing that came into my line of vision was a bowl of fresh fruit which sat on my nightstand, beside several bunches of flowers and countless get well cards.

The corners of my mouth tugged upwards as I reached feebly for an apple.

I sat up, wincing once again at the pain which coursed through my body. I stared at the apple before taking a small bite.

A familiar memory swam before my eyes and a familiar sentence floated into my mind.

‘An apple a day keeps the doctors away.’

I had heard that proverb a million times over. But only recently had I taken it into perspective. Only when I had been diagnosed with leukemia several months ago did I ponder the implications of the age old saying.

I would always remember the first time I had heard it. I was five and I had been happily munching on a red, healthy apple. I recalled that it had felt awkward to bite at the time as my first baby tooth had become loose.

As I took another chunk out of the fruit, my mother had said it for the first time.

“Always remember, Melissa, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” She had said in a wise tone.

I had glanced curiously at the supposed super fruit which sat between my fingers and wondered what special powers something so plain could possess.

My father had laughed heartily and repeated the answer that I had heard so many times in my life.

“Just because it rhymes, doesn’t make it true.” He had said, pecking my mother on the cheek.

She had rolled her eyes, suppressing a small smile.

A noise in the room returned me to the present. To reality. A nurse had just entered my blinding white, hospital quarters and was beginning standard procedure; checking my chart, managing my medication and making sure I was comfortable.

“How are you feeling?” She asked kindly.

“Alright,” I replied grimly, “Could be better.”

The nurse gave me a reassuring smile as she continued her rounds. She seemed to realize what I was holding in my hand at that moment.

“Don’t you ever want to eat anything else in the morning?” She asked, frowning, gesturing towards the apple.

“Well, you know what they say…” I began.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” We finished in unison.

“We can only hope,” She added, before leaving the room to attend to other patients.

The nurse had said exactly what I had been thinking.

Although I leaned considerably over towards my father’s reasoning, I always would eat that apple, each and every day.

Just for luck.

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