“There is great treasure to be found under that tree,” Pia’s grandmother used to say and wink at her mysteriously, her plump face wrinkled with the pleasure of laughter, and Pia would look hard on the kitchen window, trying to catch a sparkle of that hidden treasure. The tree only swayed its elegant branches, as if waving at her, somewhat teasingly.
Wasn’t it too far from the sea? Could the pirates have come and buried their gold there? Or was it the fairy people? Grandma would only shake her head, gently, much like the tree, and smile her smile of meringues, and strawberry pies, and marmalade.
The apple tree had always been there, on the hill, alone but seemingly content. Pia would sing to it sometimes, as she lay supine underneath it, holding onto the tall grasses to keep from falling into the azure well of the sky. In spring, it scattered a suave rain of flowers, generously, on whoever happened to sit underneath it, and it made wonderful apples in late summer, globes of magical gold spread on the ground.
Later, Pia shared her first kiss there, sweet like the apples, as the leaves sheltered her and her sweetheart from the inquiring moon.
Grandma got married underneath that tree, and then her mother too, and now it was Pia’s turn. As she climbed the hill, her dress the colour of apple flowers, to where Tom was waiting for her, she smiled as she suddenly knew what the treasure was.