He held the sun in his hand and stared, and he smiled despite the heat. He held it there, just plucked from the tree. He held it and he admired.
He could tell that this would be a good one. The last one was too soft. When he grabbed it he could put his finger right through it. The one before was too hard, too young, too new. This was the rare one, the special one. This was the goldilocks of the bunch. Maybe this would be the best in the orchard. Most of the other boys won't find anything this nice, maybe ever.
He could see going home and telling his Yia-yia about his new, yellow ball. He would tell her that he had found the best, the fattest, the juiciest. She would smile and clap her hands, like she always did. He liked to see her smile.
He thought about sharing his prize, and he wanted to. He intended to bring it home and show it to his brothers and cousins. He would raise it proudly and they would all see it glow in the afternoon light. He wanted to so badly, but he was hungry and thirsty, and, he thought, "maybe I can see how think the peel is". So he dug down to find the meat of the fruit and broke a piece of the skin off, just to see.
As the rind fell, the perfumes burst out. They bled from the gash, sweetening the air enticing anyone nearby. He gasped at his mistake. "Now anyone near me will know." He would not be able to bring it home without first giving some to his friends. He knew that. He knew that if his friends found out, then they would pester him until he gave in and gave away his prize. He did not want to give in. He did not want to give away the day's prize. The beautiful, golden orb belonged to him and he did not want to give it away.
He worked for it, after all. It was his. He is the one who spent all morning in the orchard, picking fruits off of the high branches. He had to go through so, so many just to find this one. And for every one he had to climb and pluck, climb and pluck. He worked very hard and they would steal it from him. It wasn't right.
Who did they think they were anyway? What sort of friends were these? They should admire him, not try to steal from him. It was his hard work.
There was only one choice. He could see that. He had only one way to get past his friends. No one had seen him yet, no one had seen him with his best of the orchard. He could hide it. He would hide his treasure, and then no one would find out. He would hide his treasure, but in what?
He thought about wrapping it in cloth, but where could he find cloth? If he ripped his shirt that might work. His mitera would get angry if he came back with clothes torn, but how else would he hide it? Surely she would understand a ripped shirt in exchange for something this beautiful. She would see how the light danced about it and she would understand.
So he made a rag. He made a rag and wrapped his drop of sunlight. Now no one would see.
No one could see, but they could smell. The fruit continued to pour out its citrusy fragrance. It was as if it wanted to be seen. It wanted to be seen and shared, but he would have none of it. It was his.
He wrapped it again. Now the smell was muted but his shirt was tattered. He took it off. He would just have to say that he was warm and wanted to carry his shirt instead of wearing it. He picked up this new parcel and went to head back.
People would see the bundle and would ask questions. It was too big for just a shirt. They would say, "what have you hidden in your shirt" and he would have to tell them, or he would have to lie. He wasn't supposed to lie, but telling a small fib about something so wonderful couldn't be too bad. No one would blame him.
Maybe he could hide it next to his stomach. He would lean over and pretend to be sick. He'd hold his bundle there. That might work. He would suck in his stomach and hold is arms to his belly. People would see him and they would leave him alone. No one wants to talk with a sick person. They probably would stay far enough away that he wouldn't need to worry about the smell either.
He would practice. He moaned and he covered his stomach. He covered the yellowish sphere with the remains of his shirt and tried to walk like a sick person, slow and bent. He needed to keep watch, though. Everyone must believe he was sick or he would need to give up his prize.
He looked up and looked about. He could still see no one. "But they could still be here, I must keep up the act." He was very convincing as a sick person. Anyone would have believed that he was not well. They might have even run and gotten his mitera, had they seen him.
But no one was there. No one watched him pretend to be sick. No one warned him to be careful of his footing. No one was there to see him trip, stumble, fall. No one was there to watch him sit up, a crushed orange in front of him, a ruined shirt by his side, and a multitude of dirt and cuts spread through his arms and face. And no one saw him cry.
He had held on to the sun, and it burned him.