Cherry Tomato

Ivan touched the hard green ball on his tomato plant. “When it turns red it’s ready to eat,” his mother told him. But it seemed to stay green forever.

After a long rain the tomato turned yellow-orange. “Soon,” his mother said. Every day it grew softer and redder.

One morning the tomato, shiny like a fire engine and warm from the sun, fell into Ivan’s hand. “I’ll give it to Daddy,” he said, slipping it into his pocket.

When he sat on his bike, climbed to his tree house, or the grass, the tomato rested against his leg. He took it from his pocket to be sure it was all right. He wished his father were already home.

Ivan sniffed the tomato. It smelled like the garden. He held its smooth skin against his cheek and rolled it to his lips. His tongue longed to touch it. Daddy wouldn’t mind if he took a little taste.

When Ivan heard his father’s voice, he shouted, “Daddy! I have a tomato for you!” He reached into his pocket but all he found was a piece of tomato skin. “Well, here’s part of it,” he said.

His father chewed the skin and swallowed it. “Delicious! Let’s go to the garden.” Ivan found another cherry tomato. He plucked it and gave it to his father quickly, before anything could happen to it.

Taking a bite of the tomato, Ivan’s father gave him the rest and said, “Sonny, it takes a long time to grow a good tomato.”