Nana: Oh! Hello! My name is Nana. How are you? Do you seem tired today? Hmm, do you mind joining me for a story? Well, this story is about my little friend Tommy Tomato. Obviously, my friend is a tomato that has a big problem. In the Food World, he doesn’t know where he exists. And, I do feel bad for my friend Tommy. That’s the reason why I will tell you his story. So that we can think of something that might help him. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Nana: It started when Tommy was still a tiny seed. The tomato plant must reproduce sexually to generate sources, having both female and male organs. Every tomato seed contains a mini tomato plant within it. Tomato plants will grow if the environmental conditions are just right. As soon as Tommy grows, his young root emerges and extends downward into the ground, becoming fixed. The seedlings, or seed leaves, form next and grow upward toward the Sun, resulting in the development of real leaves on the young plant. As Tommy becomes older, more leaves appear, and blossom buds emerge. Flowers appear on mature Tommy, and it is in these flowers that sexual reproduction takes place. And now Tommy is ready. He can now travel the world.

Nana: When Tommy was a baby, his parents always cared for him. They always ensured that Tommy would have all the nutrients he would need to grow as an intense Tomato. But, unlike us, Tommy and his family grow old so quickly. Days feel like years to them, and some of his family died from falling or smashing. That’s why Tommy wants to live his life to the fullest.

Nana: One day, when Tommy starts going to school. On his first day, his parents come with him to talk to his parents. And while they’re in the car.

Mommy Tomato: So Tommy, always be friendly to your friends. No fighting. Stay away from sharp objects. No jumping, okay?

Tommy: But, what if I am enjoying class too much? What should I do?

Daddy Tomato: It’s okay to have fun, son. But, not too much. You know that we’re very fragile. And we don’t want something happening to you.

Tommy: You say so.

Nana: Once they arrived at Tommy’s school. Mommy and Daddy Tomato find Tommy’s Homeroom Teacher, Mrs. Cabbage.

Daddy Tomato: Good day, Mrs. Cabbage. I am Tommy’s Dad, Toni, and my wife, Mia.

Mrs. Cabbage: Oh, hi! Nice to meet you. Is there something I can do for you?

Mommy Tomato: Well, yes. We would like to ask you for a favor. If it’s okay with you, don’t put our little Tommy’s seat near the window where he can be directly in the sunlight.

Mrs. Cabbage: No worries, but is it okay to ask you why?

Daddy Tomato: So his skin won’t dry and for him not to grow old quickly.

Mrs. Cabbage: If that’s the case, no problem for me. I’ll change his seats and make sure that he won’t be sitting near the window and he won’t be directed to the sunlight.

Mommy Tomato: Thank you so much. That’s so kind of you.

Mrs. Cabbage: You’re welcome. Come on, Tommy. The class is about to start.

Mommy Tomato: Okay young man, be good at school and don’t fight with other kids, okay?

Daddy Tomato: Don’t forget that you’re a little more fragile than them, kiddo.

Tommy: Yes, Mom and Dad.

Nana: As soon as Tommy got inside the classroom, he was so shocked with all the vegetables and fruits that he could see in the school. As he walks into the class, all he can hear are noises from all the fruits and vegetables talking to each other. Some are also crying because they don’t want to be separated from their parents. Tommy thinks he will have a nice day at school, but he doesn’t know that this will start his worse days.

Mrs. Cabbage: Okay, guys, let’s keep quiet for a while.

Nana: As everyone heard Mrs. Cabbage, they all listened to her.

Mrs. Cabbage: Good day, Everyone! Welcome to Glow School! This is your first day at school, so before we head out of our class and go to our prospective classes, I will introduce myself first, okay?

Everyone: Yes, Teacher.

Mrs. Cabbage: I am Mrs. Cabbage, I am one of the teachers here in the Glow School, and I’m handling the Cute Class where all the tiny fruits and vegetables will be. And, here at my side is Mrs. Apple, she will be taking the Cool Class where all the giant fruits and vegetables will be.

Nana: As Mrs. Cabbage introduced Mrs. Apple, she waved and smiled at everyone. Many of the students are looking around, finding their possible classmates, including Tommy.

Mrs. Apple: Hi Students! So, again I’m Mrs. Apple. So, to start with our day. I will ask you to go now to my side if you think you should be in the Cool Class, and go to Mrs. Cabbage Class if you think you’ll be at the Cute class. Let’s do that with minimal noise, okay? No pushing, everyone!

Nana: As soon as everyone heard Mrs. Apple’s instruction, they all decided to go to their prospective sides. Many students from the Cute Class got lost and couldn’t be seen because the Cool Class’s students were so big.

Blue Berry: Excuse me! Coming through!

Nana: No one can hear Blue because of his tiny voice. But, one person can listen to him, and it is Tommy. Because Tommy was also stuck between the students from the Cool Class.

Tommy: Hi! I’m Tommy, and I’m also from the cute class, but unfortunately, we’re stuck here, and I’m afraid they might squish me too much, and something terrible will happen to me.

Blue: Hi Tommy! Can you hush a little bit? And help me call their attention or push them? So, you won’t be squished there.

Tommy: Oh yes, sure!

Nana: As soon as Tommy and Blue help each other out and call the other’s attention, they start walking past them and see the other side of the class. As soon as they move to Cute Class’ side, they look at each other and fist bump.

Blue: Oh! I didn’t have a chance to ask you your family name. Mine is Berry. You saw the girl over there?

Nana: Blue asked Tommy and pointed at a little red girl’s direction and a black boy’s. Tommy nodded.

Blue: Right there is my sister Straw, and the little black guy there is my twin brother, Black. We’re from the Berries family, how about you from what family are you from?

Tommy: My Parents said that we’re from the Solanaceae clan. Some of my cousins are here, but we’re not that close.

Blue: Really? Where? And why are you guys not close?

Tommy: Our family is quite big and complicated, and let’s keep this one a secret, but my parents say that some of my family is not a good influence, and knowing my parents, there must be something wrong about them.

Blue: Can you say something more about your family, or can you at least tell me where your cousins are?

Tommy: Okay! See the guy right there? The red triangle one!

Blue: Oh yes! The guy who looks weird?

Tommy: Yes, if you think so. That guy is my cousin Chili. Well, he bullies me a lot, and I won’t deny that I’m scared of him. He has that strong scent that you’ll automatically cover your nose if you go near him.

Blue: Please remind me to stay away from him. How about your other cousins?

Tommy: The purple one right there that has a big tummy. That’s my cousin, Eggplant. Well, she’s nice and cool, but her life is shorter than mine. And lastly, Potato, she’s the most adorable cousin that I have. Many of our families love her, but she thinks that she’s not good and pretty enough, but for us, she and her family are one of the best.

Blue: It felt nice to have you guys as a family, then? Oh! Where is your cousin that is a bad influence?

Tommy: We barely talk about them, but I heard that they have fruits, but I haven’t seen any of them before, but the most popular ones and the ones I’ve seen were their plants, and they are the Tobaccos.

Blue: What?! Are you family with the Tobaccos?

Tommy: Well, yes! Can you minimize your voice, please?

Blue: I’m sorry, but that was shocking. I heard that Tobaccos are addictive and can harm someone.

Tommy: That’s what I heard too. And by the way, that reaction is why we don’t talk about them.

Blue: Oops! Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.

Tommy: I’m not really offended. Even though they’re part of our family, I still don’t personally know them. But, I do want to meet them sometime.

Nana: As the two were talking about their families. Mrs. Cabbage and Mrs. Apple started making the fruits and vegetables to line up so they could now go into their rooms.

Mrs. Cabbage: Okay! Cute Class, let’s head out now to our room, and let’s enjoy our time together, okay?

Everyone: Yes, Mrs. Cabbage.

Nana: The students answer excitedly. They must be excited to enjoy a day with their new friends, right? How about you? Were you excited on your first day of school?

Nana: Days passed in Tommy’s school, and he is now best friends with Blue. The two make a great team, they both like to be careful, and they don’t really play a lot. They’re more like bookworms. They also both enjoy peace. One day, Tommy’s cousin Chili decided to make fun of Tommy and Blue.

Chili: What’s up, Losers? What are you doing?

Paprika: Why am I not surprised that you two are reading again?

Tommy: Can you at least leave me alone here in school, Chili?

Chili: Why would I do that? When I can bully you here a lot. We don’t have anyone here to stop me, and your weird parents are not also here to tell me to my Mom. So, tell me again, why will I leave you alone?

Nana: The two didn’t notice that Black is on their way and is ready to show Chili what he got.

Black: I heard you like my sister, Straw? Well, I got news for you, she hates you because you’re a bully. And if you tried to come here again with your oh-so-called friend, I’ll let her know what you did and make sure that she’ll hate you forever. Do you like that?

Nana: Chili stares angrily at Black, Blue’s twin. And his friend Paprika whispered to him.

Paprika: Let’s go for now. The Teacher is coming in our way.

Chili: We’re not yet done here, Losers.

Nana: With that being said, the two walk away, and Mrs. Cabbage goes to them.

Mrs. Cabbage: What happened? Why are Chili and Paprika here? Is everything fine? Are they bothering you?

Nana: The twins look at Tommy, waiting for him to answer, but when Tommy feels someone’s looking at him, he looks in that direction and sees Chili and Paprika threatening him.

Tommy: No, Mrs. Cabbage. Everything’s fine. Thank you for your concern.

Nana: The twins were flustered and Blue face-palmed.

Mrs. Cabbage: Okay! Let me know if those guys were bothering you, okay?

Tommy: Yes, Mrs. Thank you again.

Nana: As soon as Mrs. Cabbage left. Blue face Tommy.

Blue: What was that about? You had a chance to tell Mrs. Cabbage about your cousin and his friend bullying you, but you didn’t do it?

Tommy: He’s still my cousin.

Black: Oh, stop! Just tell me that you’re scared of him right now.

Nana: When Black said that, he also faced the bullies’ direction. Blue did the same thing.

Blue: Oh no! If looks can kill, we’re now cremating you.

Tommy: Stop looking at them. Let’s just go inside the room.

Nana: As the three of them get inside the room, Tommy doesn’t know that Chili is the easiest opponent that he’ll encounter in his life. And that this is only the start of a life full of discrimination and bullies.

Blue: So what are you doing tomorrow? Do you want to hang out with Black and me? Right, Black?

Black: Yes, you should come over. We’re going to play the new game that our parents bought us.

Tommy: Oh, that would be fun! But unfortunately, it’s my cousin’s sending off party tomorrow. My parents won’t allow me to miss that.

Blue: What a pity! Who’s cousin is going to be sent off tomorrow?

Tommy: It’s Potato’s older sister Patata. It’s finally her sending off. We’ll know if she’s going to be sold in the market or going to live with us forever.

Black: But, what does she want to have?

Tommy: Well, she thinks that we’re destined to make the Human’s happy, so she feels that it’s better if she’ll be pleaded to be sold in the market.

Blue: How about you, Tommy? What would you like to choose on your sending off?

Tommy: Honestly, I have a hard time spending every day. I’m always afraid that tomorrow I’ll be smashed or something terrible will happen to me. That’s why I always want to enjoy my life. I don’t want to bother myself with guys like Chili and Paprika.

Black: You think when we grow older, you’ll meet friendly people in your life? I doubt that.

Blue: Don’t be so negative, Black!

Tommy: No worries! I know he’s telling the truth, and he has a point.

Blue: Still!

Black: You trust everyone too much, Blue. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but you should lessen it so you won’t feel so disappointed when they wrong you.

Tommy: And not letting your guard down is just a way to protect yourself, as well as your feelings.

Nana: The three didn’t know that Mrs. Apple was at their back and listening to the whole conversation all along.

Mrs. Apple: I know for sure that you three are not from my class because I know that those students won’t talk the way you guys talk.

Black: Mrs. Apple, you’re here. Are we walking too slow and blocking your way?

Mrs. Apple: A little, but I had fun listening to you guys. And I think you all have a point. And to tell you, there’s more to life than you can imagine. You can explore all the things you want to explore without letting your guard down, expecting too much, and trusting everyone. By the end of the day, what truly matters is your happiness.

Tommy: I wish it was that simple, Mrs. Apple. My parents won’t allow me to do things because they said I’m vulnerable.

Mrs. Apple: Do you want me to tell you a story?

Nana: The three guys nodded, and Mrs. Apple led them to a bench near them.

Mrs. Apple: Well, believe it or not, Apples like me are fragile. We look hard and firm outside, but something mysterious happens inside. One day, my brother Paul decided to play baseball with his friends, not knowing that we were fragile. He runs around, falls on the ground, sometimes the ball hits him. All he did was have fun and enjoy the game with his friends. And when he came home while resting he felt sick, everything hurt and he doesn’t know why. When my parents heard him scream, they ran to his room and asked him what had happened. He said that his body hurts. He’s in so much pain. And then our Dad asked him what he did the whole day and then he told my Parents that he played baseball with his friends. My Mom was so shocked, and she almost fainted. My Dad said, did you know that we’re not allowed to do extreme activities? My brother said no and started screaming in pain again. My father decided to call the Ambulance while they were on their way to the hospital. Paul said that if something happens to me, you should know that I love you guys so much and don’t worry, I get to spend every day so happy and I have no regrets. When they were in the hospital, my brother peacefully left this world, and they saw that he was full of bruises, but my parents were not sad nor happy. Instead, they felt relieved that Paul enjoyed his life until his last breath. That’s why my parents decided to be strict with me and let me do the things I like. And as a parent myself, I decided to do the same with my babies. I will let them enjoy everyday the way they want because I don’t want them to be blamed in the end and to regret my actions.

Blue: So, you want us to not follow our parents?

Black: Silly! You miss the point, Blue. Mrs. Apple is trying to say that even though there are many things we’re scared of, we should always choose to be happy.

Tommy: Thank you for sharing that painful story, Mrs. Apple. And, I know that your Brother, Paul, is so happy to see what you’ve become.

Mrs. Apple: Thank you so much, guys. Now, pack your things, it’s time to go home and enjoy your weekends.

Nana: While the three guys are on their way home, Tommy still thinks about Mrs. Apple’s story. He knows that he needs to enjoy his life every day and to make sure that he’ll make himself proud when the day of his last breath comes. That’s it for the first part of Tommy’s story. The next time I’ll see you, I’ll tell you more about Tommy’s life. I hope you learn something from this. I’ll see you again next time. Bye!