The garden was long and thin. Eva had permission to play in it if she stayed off the vegetable beds and kept away from the chicken coop. She was allowed to go down the narrow path to the gate at the bottom which led to the rear access for the terraced houses.
Whenever she came out the man who owned the garden kept a close eye on her. It was summer and his vegetables were ripening. She had been told not to touch any of the fruit and vegetables and she was too timid to disobey. But she could look.
On her way to the bottom of the garden she passed a row of tomato plants. Their fruits fascinated her; she had been watching them develop from the moment the flowers appeared and now, several weeks later, the fruits had set and begun to show colour. Every day she visited the plants, measuring them with her eyes, looking at them from underneath, above, sideways on.
Along with the tomatoes, a plan ripened in her. She would take one, perhaps the one which was at the back of the truss, and therefore slightly hidden. Her visits became more frequent. She was going to wait until her chosen tomato had turned fully red, plump, and juicy looking. She would say it had fallen off and been eaten by animals.
Another day maybe and then she’d come out while no one was about and she’d pick it, take it into the alley behind the gardens, and eat it. Just thinking about it made her mouth water.
On her chosen day she came out early and made straight for the tomato plants. There was no red anywhere, only green and yellowish fruits remained. The man had picked all the ripe tomatoes during the previous evening, after she been sent to bed.
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