The Apple Tree – our first fiction!

Gordon Sombrowski is an acclaimed short-story writer. He is also the significant other of Kevin Allen, the Research Lead of the Calgary Gay History Project. Gordon recently wrote a narrative piece about the current pandemic, called The Apple Tree, that reflects on Calgary’s AIDS history. Just as AIDS had a powerful effect on gay male sexual behaviour, he muses that Covid-19 might change us as well – he says: “all pandemics leave scars.”

Apple Tree

Here is an excerpt from The Apple Tree:

Georgie looks out the window and plans his day. His Covid day. That is what he calls each day, Covid day one, Covid day two, now it is Covid day fifty-three. Every day so much like the next: breakfast, lunch, dinner, a walk down to the river, a walk around in the town park, a walk along the empty streets. All of it alone. Everyday Georgie is alone, but for the one day a week he drives to the grocery store, early when no one is there, he buys his groceries, his mask in place. But Georgie is not really alone. He has the internet.

Tom is the best of his many acquaintances, and he spends time online with them and Tom and with a bunch of the gang at work. He has organized to have a drink or dinner with Tom once or twice a week, and he always has drinks with his colleagues on Fridays, otherwise casual drinks or coffee with his other acquaintances all mediated by the computer screen.

Georgie has become an expert at internet socializing. He has discovered that he likes internet socializing, it is safe, and fills his need for company. It has not escaped his notice that this internet socializing, looking at a screen to see an image that is like the person, but is not the person, is a lot like pornography.

Click here for the full short story.

This is the first original fiction we have published on the Calgary Gay History Project’s website; let us know what you think! Happy reading.


4 responses to “The Apple Tree – our first fiction!

  1. I liked your story Gordon–very real and a story which I think resinates with many– This time of covid-19 has been a time for remembering other challenges and the AIDS crisis certainly was a difficult time. It was during that time the I was working for GLSA and had the opportunity to learn more than I had ever realized the horrors of this disease and all of the problems associated with it.
    And here we are in a pandemic which has been ongoing and will likely carry on for longer– we have learned to cope sort of! Do we like this new “normal”–NO , we have done things we would not likely have done if we had not been isolated –your story about another epidemic. Your story concludes as I think many stories do, some regrets but really grateful for what is today.

    I, too, have used my time to complete a longer story about the survival of a holocaust survivor I met ten years ago–the research and the actual writing process has been very interesting and enlightening. Covid-19 has forced me to stay home and to finish what is at this point, a polished draft–
    I think that this focus for me has been important for my mental well being during this time of covid, although there certainly have been challenges. I believe that I did contract covid-19 (late January)long before it became prevalent in our society–I have recovered and remain unsure if I did or did not have it. Today I am going to be tested which will reveal the truth (advice of my doctor).

    Trust all continues well for both of you and thank you for sharing your story.
    Be well and stay well!

  2. Georgie’s isolation is so sad, yet I do understand how staying isolated the way we have sometimes feels very safe. “Georgie didn’t add, he would be happier if he could just watch travel shows and talk to Tom over the internet, and if the urge ever took him again he would find the right porn, and he wouldn’t have to leave the apartment ever, so long as the pension cheque came.” What if Georgie actually did this? I think it is very possible that some people will do this. Stay cloistered.

  3. Hi Gordon, Loved your Apple tree story. I sometimes wonder how many of my friends from the club survived the AIDS epidemic & worse yet how many lived & are still living their lives in fear. One o f the side effects of living this long , Many wonderful memories but enough bad ones to keep me aware of the real world. Looking forward to your other stories & when & where will your book be available? Hope to see you again soon, Love & Hugs, Lois

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