Chapter 16: Serendipity is a force in nature


So much had been left unsaid and plans unfulfilled, but Robert never thought there would not be a tomorrow. He didn’t want Xochi to be gone, but she was and recently buried. Among the heartache, Robert felt a need to recount the time they had spent together. But more than that, he wanted her in his arms, to feel her breath against his lips while she narrated the events of her day. He promised to listen, just as he did after they picked the Granny apples for the pie she later made for him.

“That was fun,” Xochi had said on sitting down at the diner. “I’m glad you convinced that farmer to let us pick our own apples.”

Just outside Tehachapi, they had stopped at a roadside stand to buy the perfect apples for a pie, but she kept glancing at the small orchard down the dirt drive from where they had parked. “Don’t you think they would be best straight from the branch?”

“Honey, I think these are straight from the branch.” He could tell there would be no alternative but walk to the orchard and pick their own. Freshness to her was like a kiss; you don’t know it’s real until you feel the moist pressure upon the lips.


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