She breaks off the brittle leaves, one by one, and places the last persimmon on a square bamboo board. It is her favorite board because it is small with rounded edges — easy to wash, perfect for small jobs, but frustrating for onions and chives that roll off onto their Formica counter.
She picks up the blue-handled knife and hesitates before slicing this perfect orb in half. It feels like a beheading, or the end of an era. She quarters it and cuts a notch away from each piece at the stem end.
Pulling down two monkey dishes, she fills them with slices. She puts a wedge into her mouth, and using her tongue to trap it between her molars, begins to mash it up. The flavor is magnificent.
She goes to the window and looks out at the tree that bore this perfect fruit, golden leaves at its feet, branches naked and sprawling. Exposed. She looks away in embarrassment. Didn’t those branches have leaves a few weeks ago? How we change from one season to the next.
Searching her memory, she finds images from the day her husband — the man who promised to grow old with her when their hair was still thick and dark — planted this tree. She finds an impression of him digging the hole, and tries to remember helping him place the sapling, gently, into that hole.
It occurs to her that humans have only one spring, one summer, one fall, and if they’re lucky — or not, depending on your perspective — one winter. Unlike the trees, humans do not drop their leaves and grow back new ones. Instead, they continue down the same linear path from cradle to grave.
She sets the other dish next to her partner and watches him reach for this last slice of summer. “Is it spring yet?” he asks on cold mornings. “I hate winter,” she says, tugging on a pair of black fleece loungers.