The Pear Tree.

At the lower end of my gently sloping back yard there is a pear tree. It was planted eight years ago by myself and my wife..who is now sadly departed..a long debilitating illness that drained energy and the sensitive attachment to the outside world from my body and emotions. The tree is a concorde pear, we both liked the long, feminine pear shape and flesh, we would watch through the growing of the fruit and throw a bird net over the tree, which fortunately was yet not too big, to keep birds from pecking the ripening pears. The pear tree was the one central fruit tree in our backyard that we cherished together and in Bronwyn’s last days, she would frequently ask after the pear tree and I would reassure her it was healthy and bearing fruit..and she would smile and squeeze my arm and in a breathless whisper say..: “That is a good thing.”

But that was three years ago now and I am just coming out of a deep grieving for the many years we spent is early Autumn and the pears are ripening wonderfully. I frequently go down to the back garden and pick a pear, cut it in two and taste the juicy, delicious fruit and the memories come flooding back..but now the memories are no longer of deep sadness, but rather reflective of the many good times Bronwyn and I had together.

It was on one of those moments when I was at the pear tree and had just eaten into the second half of a pear that I heard a call to me from over the next door neighbours fence. A young woman stood there at the fence..when I say “young”, I mean younger than myself and I am fifty-five years of age, so I would reckon the woman to be around late thirties or so..and, much younger than myself.

“Hello” she called..her voice was clear, soft and inquiring..I turned, surprised, for though I was aware that the neighbouring property had been purchased from a long time vacant, I had up till now no interest in wondering just who had purchased it.

“Hello” I returned..then an inquisitive “what can I do for you?”

“That pear tree..what type is it?” she called…I didn’t quite catch what she had asked so I went to the fence and asked again what was it she had said..

“The pear..what variety is it, can I ask?”

“Oh..” I pointed to the tree “It’s a concorde pear”.

“It’s very have a lot of fruit on it…I have a pear tree too, though it hasn’t any fruit on it at a matter of fact it looks rather tatty compared to yours.”

“Both trees were planted at the same a matter of fact, our tree was given to us by the couple who used to live there where you are now..they had bought two for the price of one in a deal at the nursery and they only wanted the one, so they gave this other one to us.”

“Well, you must have the green thumb then, because I have been here two seasons now and there’s been barely a pear in both.” The woman complained.

“I’m sorry to say that I can’t claim any credit for our pear baring so was my wife, you see, who looked after the tree.”

“Ah, yes..I heard about you losing your partner..I’m sorry for that.”

“Thank you for your concern, but it was several years ago now..and..if I may correct you there on one point..I prefer the term “wife” rather than “partner” as whenever I hear that term, I immediately think of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in an old movie they did back in the sixties…”Partners”..a terrible movie my mind a terrible title for the relationship of marriage…” I worried if I sounded a tad too lecturey, so I added.” If you’ll excuse me for saying so.” And I gave a humble bow.

“Oh no..don’t apologise” she laughed..and I must interject here to remark that that laugh was such a delightful shock to myself…a sudden song..if I can call it that..a woman song in a woman lilt of voice..a music I have been denied of for these several years while I mourned my dearly departed much a shock that I felt myself draw in a gulp of air..The woman continued..” I’m certain that we get caught up in these changes of terminology that the modern world thrusts upon us rather than those of our own choosing…so..”Wife” it will be in future.” She finished with a decisive nod of her head. She then proffered her hand to me with ; “Sophia” she simply said.

“Joseph..” I replied and we shook hands.

“So tell me…Joseph..” she asked “Was there some special fertilizer your wife used?”

Here I was a little reticent to reply, as my dearly departed was particularly singular in her application of suitable fertilising of this particular tree…other parts of the garden she would apply a common compost or shop-purchased fertiliser..but as mentioned before of my wife, Bronwyn’s opinion that the pear was a female tree, she would delicately apply at selected times her own urine to points around the circumference of the root system…and certainly, this mode of application had the desired results of having the pears bear so profusely and so deliciously..what can one say?..but then to try to explain such a delicate matter to a total stranger is the most difficult task..I opted for diplomacy.

“My wife..Bronwyn, was her name..she..she was of the opinion that organic was best…sooo..considering that one of the best sources of nitrogen, phosphorous..and other goodies..AND..Bronwyn would make quiet comment on the usefulness of the female oestrogen levels in a woman’s urine……” and I pursed my lips and left the conclusion to my new found next door neighbour to work it out.

“Ohh!…so she pissed on the ground around the tree!?” and she laughed that music again..damned if I wasn’t embarrassed by the openness of the woman’s talk..

“Yeah..well…I suppose THAT is the crude terminology if you want to say it like that..but I can assure you that my wife took a more delicate approach to the subject..” and I went to the pear tree to select a fruit to give this cheeky neighbour a taste of the result..

I picked what I saw as a beautiful, ripe pear..looked it over for flaws and satisfied of its quality, took it back to the fence where Sophia stood and showed her the fruit..then taking my folding knife from my pocket, I started to slice the pear in half lengthways..

“That’s an interesting knife you’re using.” Sophia remarked

“It’s French..a French kitchen folding knife..we have a full set in the wife preferred them to the normal type…she said the curves fitted into her hand better.”…I had completed the cut and offered one half of the pear over the fence to Sophia..

“Thank you, kind sir..” she said with a curtsey and a smile..took a bite and leant forward so the juice wouldn’t trickle onto her skirt..her eyebrows raised and she spoke..” What a wonderful taste!”…

“Yes” I agreed “It’s almost effervescent “..

“Mmmm..quite tingly” Sophia agree.

“My wife…. Bronwyn…used to say that the pear was the original fruit Eve offered to Adam…She said that the pear was a female tree.” And I bit down on another mouthful of the pear.

“Huh..I never thought of that!” Sophia exclaimed and took another bite herself..then asked me if she could see the folding knife…I handed it to her over the fence.

“Ah, yes…I see…it does have a comfortable feel to it..your wife must have been a good cook..” Sophia bent down to read the brand on the blade..”Le Savonyard”…she read.

“Yes…It’s an old knife..we’ve had it for years..I prefer it to a standard pocket knife..they are a bit too twee for what I want to use it for..” and I reached my hand over the fence for her to give it back..Sophia went to pass it back then snatched it away..

“What if I want to keep it!?” and she laughed that sweet woman laugh and the music of that laugh rolled around the leaves and twigs and flowers of the garden and thrilled my hungry had been so long since I enjoyed a woman’s voice, that falsetto trill and then the mocking tease that women are so good at..and now this sprightly fortyish redhead had suddenly put a song back into my heart..I don’t think Bronwyn would begrudge, not at all..Sophia then handed the knife back to me..I didn’t…couldn’t say a word..but as I took the knife back, I knocked a paling on the fence and it fell away..I caught it and leant it against the fence..

“Oh, that’s a bother” I said “I’ll have to get to and fix it before some stray cats use it for a thoroughfare”.

“My cat, you mean”..and Sofia smiled.

“The white one…Is it yours? “ I asked..

“Yes..I mostly keep it inside, but in the evening, I let it out to do its cat business in the prefers the “organic” method.”

Cheeky thing, I thought..but then, I had nothing against cats or dogs or any animals for that matter.

“Perhaps I’ll just leave the paling here then and let your pussy wander further.”..I wasn’t sure if she got my double entendre and she didn’t let on..but anyway, the conversation had about exhausted itself so we talked of food and dinner to prepare etcetera, excused ourselves and went inside.

Several months had passed since I met Sofia over the side fence..we had chatted on more occasions and she had even come through the fence where it was broken so I could show her the garden. It was in walking with this quietly confident women around the garden that my wife had so meticulously planted, paying close attention to certain plants in regard to colour, height and emblematic flora presentation, that I became aware just how isolated from pleasant company I had become over the years as I cared then grieved for my Bronwyn..and it was when we reached a particular spot in the furtherest part of the garden beds, where there stood amongst low ferns and shrubs a stone-cast Japanese garden lantern..I confessed to Sofia the pact I had made with my wife for after she had passed away.

“It was under this lantern, that I buried some of Bronwyn’s ashes.” I softly reflected.

“Some?” Sofia queried. I stood there with my hands in my pockets while I explained the pact.

“ When Bronwyn was in her last months, she wrote for me some instructions for her funeral..and one stipulation..or rather, request was for myself..and only known to retrieve her ashes. Take out a small measure, place it inside a golden locket I gave her when we first were going serious and bury it under this Japanese lantern..It was to represent her heart so it would forever remain in her beloved garden…or at least as long as foreseeable..the rest went to one of those alcoves at the cemetery..for the family to go to.”

“What a lovely gesture as a memorial” Sofia quietly spoke.

“Yes..I come here to make a connection to her spirit come every new moon…But I am afraid the garden is falling into neglect these days..” and I looked around to the overgrown plants. “Perhaps the time has come to let the regret and sadness lie and begin the regrowing of the garden”.

“A garden is nature’s microcosm of the rebirth of the world”..I looked at Sophia in amazement.

“You know..Bronwyn said something almost the exact meaning…She said that women had a contract with nature to rebirth our world while men had a contract with the world of materials to build and maintain a safe living environment for both women and nature to thrive.”

“ is a trueism that women are more joined in common union to each other..through common practicality than men.”

I turned to gaze carefully at this gentle person standing next to myself, thinking I was beginning to know her so much better than our first meeting over the fence-line and I wanted to get to know her more..

“I’d like to invite you to dinner at my place some time..if that’s alright with you..NOT, I might add to flirt or confront, just to get to talk to you as a person…a situation I have fallen out of practice with these last five years..I cannot promise good conversation, BUT..I can promise a good meal..THAT I had plenty of practice with cooking for both my wife and myself all that time.”…Sophia smiled..that was a good sign..

“Alright”, she said “And I for my part will try not to complicate things either”..and it was my turn to smile.

“Just give me a couple of weeks or so to clean and tidy the place up…I’m afraid the bachelor’s life has crept into and onto many surfaces.”

And with that promise, we parted.

A week later there was a new moon and as was my usual routine, I made my way down to the Japanese lantern at the back of the garden to join in silence with my departed love..I have a rock there which I sit upon and while not really doing anything of either spiritual or practical, I just sit in idle contemplation of the backyard…I had been going through this ritual for so long now that the deeper spiritual connotation was somewhat lost on me and I was even wondering if I should continue the practice..perhaps it was time to let the dead bury the dead..

But just as I was thinking this morbid thought, I detected a movement in the backyard next Sophia’s backyard…indeed, after a little concentrated gazing, I could see it was Sophia herself. She was dressed in a long white cotton shift that went to her ankles. Her hair was loose and free..She walked with slow, light steps to her pear tree..I shifted my position silently as I could see she had some intention and wasn’t to be disturbed. I watched in dumb fascination through that gap in the fence where the paling had fallen away as Sophia then squatted next to the pear tree and with her dress lifted to show her white hips and long white legs, she placed her right hand between her parted legs and squatted there..I stared in fixated curiosity and then I heard first the sound of the pooling and then saw in the full moonlight a singular jet of shining urine spray from between her legs onto the soil next to the pear tree..and in the soft moonlight, for just the briefest moment as she came to the end of her action there and was doing a couple of bobs on the balls of her feet to finish the lot, I caught the flash of moonlight on the innermost part of her thighs and onto that most precious part of eyes caught or at least I believe my eyes caught a picture of her vagina with her two fingers spreading the lips of her labia so as to..I presume, make the discharge of urine more cleaner and easier..I turned away then lest she would spy me and believe I was some sort of degenerate trying to take advantage of a woman’s private functions.

Sophie finished her deed and then returned to the house..I sat there for a little while longer in disturbed contemplation at what I had just witnessed..not for the action of the ablution, but rather in the sensuality within a those commonplace but private actions of a woman..I felt I had never really known this fellow creature that I had both co-habited with and joined in sexual reproduction with to form our family..Perhaps this whole life thing was a tad more complicated than I first thought..

That flickering glimpse of Sophia’s vagina instantaneously threw me back to a moment in the early days of my marriage to Bronwyn. I was in my early thirties and Bronwyn in her late twenties. We had one child who was now three years old and I had thought for some time that Bronwyn was preparing herself for a second child..we had not discussed it in any depth, but it was an understanding that two children would be the ideal.

It was a summer night and Bronwyn had showered and went to the bed while I took my turn in the shower..I had come out and was nakedly finishing off drying myself while Bronwyn lay there stark naked herself on the bedclothes looking all the while like she was waiting for something. I stared at her quizzically and innocently asked;

“What are you waiting for?”….without a word, Bronwyn slowly and sensually opened her legs wide to show to me that most glorious treasure desired by the eternal host of mankind..her vagina opened to me like a flower opens to then appeared to blink at me..or was it a cheeky she thrust her pelvis a my gaze..but whatever it was, I can tell you most assuredly that no parade-ground soldier ever stood to attention smarter or faster than did my male member……

“You.” Bronwyn whispered..and on that night, I firmly believe, our second child was conceived.

Around a month after I had Invited Sophia to dinner, I was ready to follow through with the deed. Many years before, when I found it had become my lot to do the cooking for two, I was advised by the Greek wife of my boss to immediately purchase a copy of the “Tess Mallos, Complete Middle-East Cookbook”…take it home, study it and paraphrase my boss’s wife…”Follow the ingredients and instructions; TO THE LETTER!”…and a more wise and utilitarian instruction I have never heard!

The dinner I had planned for the night was a simple yet exotic and tasty dish..I had consulted my “Bachelor’s friend” (as I call the said cookbook) and chosen “Psari Savoro”, fried fish with rosemary and vinegar..

The fishmonger at the market served me several choice fillets of butterfish, which I followed the instructions and coated with the appropriate ingredients and shallow fried, then taking the fish from the pan, I placed the cooked fillets in a dish and draining all but one quarter cup of oil from the pan, I added the garlic and rosemary, cooked them for a few minutes and sprinkled in three teaspoons of flour and stirred till it was lightly coloured….of course I did this cooking while Sophia was sitting at the table sipping on a chilled sauvignion-blanc from the Adelaide Hills…she had even consented to try my own preference of dropping a couple of ice-cubes into the glass of wine to super-chill it which makes the taste so much more sharp and tingling to the palate…It was when I removed the pan from the heat and poured in the vinegar that Sophia gave a cry of fright as the vinegar sizzled and spat high up over the pan..we both laughed then and I knew the evening, which I approached with trepidation was going well..I stirred in some of the drinking wine and returned the pan to the heat until it was bubbling..I then took it off , added some salt and pepper and poured the sauce over the fish…I served the dish up with a side dish of Greek salad and we sat down to a delightful meal, first toasting our new found companionship.

With the meal finished and the sweet of Baklava served, we sat back in our chairs and sipped the suav’-blanc..

“ The Baklava was bought”…I confessed “my culinary skills will only stretch so far”…Sophie smiled wryly and complimented me on my overall hosting effort.

“I did wonder on how you would do the dinner and I have to say it was an absolute delight” and she tilted her glass in my direction…I thanked her and repaid her with a compliment on her looks and dress for the night..

“Your dress and deportment make my efforts look a tawdry sham, Sophia…your hair looks dazzling and I yield to your beauty..I am besotted!” and we laughed together..a joyous laugh that brings two people closer and more intimate in the conversation which we parried and shared, agreed and contested in mutual enjoyment as the night progressed and the wine ran freely. It was toward the late hour when I felt I had to say what I wanted to say all the while…I placed my glass on the table, crossed my hands and spoke gently and with what I hoped were conciliatory words.

“Oh!” Sophie smiled “it must be serious”….I returned her smile and said;

“You remember I said that every new moon, I go to sit near the Japanese lantern and take in the night with the memory of my wife?..” I paused..I wanted to get this right..” well..that last new moon a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting there in the dark, not thinking of much at all..when I saw you go to your pear tree and …..fertilize the soil there…I apologise for my bringing the subject to your attention in this way and I have no opinion on your behaviour..your life is your own to do with as you please…but in seeing you do that action, like my wife used to do the same, awoke in me, as a male, the great distance I..and I cannot help but feel ; WE men and women, have let grow between our genders..a dualism of body and mind and I do, do believe now, that I ought to have paid more attention to what my wife extolled me to take seriously; that the pear tree was a symbol more than just a fruit tree..the tree is the bearer of body and soul of us all…” I drank down a little more wine to moisten my now dry palate and I was hoping I had not spoilt the evening with a lot of babble.

Sophia looked to me placed her head in a cradle-cup of her hands whilst leaning on the table and softly replied…

“I saw you go down to the memorial in your garden that night, as I have watched you go there other times and I could see there a man caught in a past difficult to release…I saw you sit there in silence looking sad and forlorn but I felt you were ready to come out of your shell and I wanted to be the one to touch your bring you into this new I did the only thing I could think of that was in common with your Bronwyn, yourself and myself..I cannot say what made me think of such a thing except your mentioning it when we first met over the fence..I wanted you to see me..I wanted you to know me..for I am not a forward person, but I do have feelings toward you but you had to see the intimate self of myself to either accept or reject me and I made the decision then and there to show that most vulnerable self to your gaze.”

WE both sat there in silence for a while and then I broke the silence with a wry smile and by asking Sophie that since the pear tree was female and in need of a woman’s “touch”, would she then mind sharing that vulnerable part of herself with my pear tree once in a while?

Without a word, Sophie rose from the table..she took my hand and encouraged me to rise also..I was about to ask what she wanted, but she pressed her index finger to my lips as a signal to not speak. She then led me to the rear door of my house to go out to the garden..I was both enthralled as to what was her intention and what was her motive. Again I was about to speak and she again touched my lips gently to silence me..we walked hand in hand to the bottom of the the pear tree which is where we halted..then the most sweeping sensation of warmth flooded my body as I watched Sophia slowly release my hand with a caress of my fingers..then she lifted the loose cotton smock dress she had on to her waist and proceeded to take down her underwear which she let down to her knees, then taking my hand once again, she lowered herself to a squat in front of the pear tree and gently encouraged me to kneel beside her..we did all this in absolute silence save the wind rustling the leaves of the trees and sweeping over our bodies and hair to tossle and tussle our senses.

In this position, of Sophie squatting and myself kneeling beside her, Sophie guided my hand with my absolute obedience to her vulva and with her hand over mine, she cupped her vulva with my hand.. I suddenly awoke to the soft gentleness of the woman’s genitalia in the palm of my hand..the warmth and moist fleshiness of that most pure part of a woman..that birthplace of every person ever born into the world..all the while, Sophia gazed tenderly into my eyes and caressed the side of my face with her other hand..I could say she looked right into my soul..the wind lifted her rich, red hair into cirrus-like wisps and swirls and I was beginning to wonder on just who was this woman creature here with me..then, pressing my middle finger with her own on top, she bade my finger enter her vaginal opening and pushed it up inside of herself to the second joint..she held my hand there pressing against her vulva and I could feel and sense the warmth of her body inside and out..the male desire within, to join with her in sexual ecstasy was beginning to demand of me, but she sensed my want and shook her head in a negative command and clasped my hand tight as to say “No..let it stay just as it is”..and it was then I became aware of her ultimate intent as I felt another warmth spread over my fingers and my hand..OUR hands..for she still covered my hand with her own and I knew that Sophia then was allowing her warm urine to trickle out over our hands and down onto the earth and down to the roots of the pear tree and..oh!..the sensation of the feeling as Sophie just fixed her stare at and into my eyes while we stayed there with our bodies joined in this anointment of the earth and I almost swooned with the knowledge that here in this one woman was all women..and here in this one action was all life enacted that had emanated from the natural source of man to women to nature and with the passing of the warm urine…back to Earth..back to nature back to the essence of life itself and for only the second time in my life, the first being in joining with my wife, Bronwyn in the ecstasy of first sexual contact to then grow our family together..this..I knew was the natural order of things..the only true order of life itself..a life for me that was about to change now forever.