Probably because of its vaguely heart-ish shape, the apple is strongly related to marriage in superstition. For example, it's said that if you can peel an apple all in one long single strip, you can then throw it behind you under the light of the full moon, and the discarded peel will spell out the name of the person you are destined to marry. In the words of fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, however, this does not really work too well, unless your destined love is actually named something like 'Scscss'.
Possibly more fruitful is the following method: while twisting the stem of an apple, recite the names of five or six people of the appropriate gender. (I woulda said 'of the opposite sex', but why shouldn't superstitions be equal opportunity?) The name you speak as the stem comes off is the name of the person you're meant to marry. (If the stem comes off between names, presumably you're meant to be either single or polygamous.)
Finally, if you cut an apple in half and count the number of seeds inside, that's supposed to indicate the number of children you are going to have. Now, personally, I've never seen an apple with one or less seeds, so to me, this idea is very, very scary. I may never eat another apple again!
Post-Partum Digression: part 11 (at last!) of an 11-part essay
The Year 2002 A.D. (After Delivery)
I was out of the hospital in two days, which is pretty quick compared to most C-section patients. But I could practically feel the money draining out of my husband’s and my collective wallet with every hour that passed, plus I was heartily sick of lying around in a pool of my own blood (I wish I was kidding!), not to mention having a catheter stuck up my unmentionables.
So we went home, along with Sage, the cutest, sweetest, smartest baby in all of Creation. Okay, okay, I know all parents think that, but personally, I am convinced that God gave me an extra-terrific child to make up for all of those prayers that He willfully ignored (i.e., “Please don’t let me be pregnant” and “Please don’t let me have a Caesarian delivery”).
All in all, though, it turns out that this God person really knows what He’s doing. (Probably this is what Noah thought too… you know, once he got over the prospect of having to live for more than a month on a boat full of animal shit.) Oh, I went through the obligatory postpartum depression—one day it just hit me, and the next thing I knew, the baby was crying because she was hungry, I was crying for no real reason I could explain, and Dean was crying because everyone else was. But such incidences aside, we’re doing okay. We’re even beginning to enjoy being parents. I still have the occasional bout of quiet hysteria (e.g., “Whatever happened to my social life?”, “Is this how it’s going to be for the next twenty years?”, and “Will I ever be able to wear a bikini again?”), but these are becoming fewer and further between, and my arm no longer feels like it’s going to fall off from trying to rock Sage back to sleep. Of course, it helps that my baby inexplicably smells like leche flan, and apparently thinks that her parents are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unconditional adoration is always comforting…
It’s hard to remember why we didn’t initially want to have a child, although all the same reasons that made so much sense before remain: money is tight, I feel like I’ll never be the Supermom my own mother is, and I’m still so selfish that every now and then I try to explain to my little girl that Mommy has to put her down just long enough to have a cigarette, okay? I have the sneaking suspicion that if Sage weren’t the good, patient baby that she is, I might have chucked her over the balcony a while back and tried to pass it off as the work of Spider-Man’s evil twin. Fortunately, she is as wonderful as she is, and I wouldn’t trade being her mother for anything. Of course, I’ve started smoking again, so that could just be the nicotine talking…
Still and all, things look pretty good. I have my perfect husband, our perfect baby, and a near-perfect life, except that I never quite seem to possess enough hands or Pampers.
Of course, perfection is in the eye of the beholder: “Can I be a ninong when you have a boy?” my brother-in-law wanted to know at Sage’s christening.
As in, what, another baby?! Honestly, there’s just no pleasing some people…