The Way of All Fruit
by Ginny Wray
Fruit is so phony. Not only phony, but moody, irritable, vain and whiny, its tender feelings oh so easily bruised like some people I won't mention (not by name anyway) who move down to Florida and send you rough-hewn bags of Indian River pink grapefruit with notes saying, Life is bittersweet without you.
But I was talking about fruit. As a big fruit fan (that is, a big fan of fruit, not a fan of big fruit), I say to you: you can trust a fruit about as far as you can throw it, but don't. Don't throw it. And don't ever trust it. Don't let it take you in with its cheery cheerleader colors and firmness of feel. I'm just saying that if you're ever seduced by a fruit, if it asks you for love (and it will) and you love it, it'll say, You only love me because I asked for it.
I've been hurt by fruit, I admit it, traumatized by my first date with a plum, its secret stony heart of darkness lurking behind a gorgeous veil of purple succulence. So I'm just saying, watch your step -- with bananas, naturally, even with oranges, since they may promise you healthy bodies and happiness, the joys of juice and fructose, but they'll turn on you. Because you don't call them on their birthdays, or "you don't love them anymore." (You could send a card, God forbid, on Mother's Day!) Without warning, any fruit you care to mention will go soft or sour or dry up, not just because it can but because it must. It's in a fruit's nature. A nectarine may appear to be resting quietly on your window sill, but nectarines are never at rest. Their microscopic molecules are always on the move. An apple too has only one thing on its mind: spilling its seed (if at all possible) and then ripening, on or off the vine.
\When fruit goes bad, you never know what it may do next -- stand on street corners dressed up as a mango or papaya soliciting sun-kissed kisses for a dime a dozen. But reaching "maturity" is really all it has to look forward to. If it's lived a full life, suddenly your favorite so-called Golden Delicious will get scary, brown and gooey, growing fuzz where none should be like something unholy left to fester while you're down in Sarasota, visiting you-know-who.
So what I say to you is this: when fruit calls, don't answer. Even if it sings to you, siren-like, radiant and unblemished in the produce aisle, where you plump it in all the right places. You might confuse its tiny imperfections with beauty marks, but don't be fooled: those cute little dinks and dimples are major character flaws of the worst variety, spreading like lunar eclipses, like tiny nuclear winters, casting their penumbra of rot and decadence and reminding you inexorably of the way of all flesh and the way of all pulp.
So give it up, I say. Be brave; just say no to fruit. Wean yourself on look-alikes and substitutes. (Carrots have a lot of sugar and can be made to look like oranges -- try mashing them, then roll the pulp into balls. They're juicy, and so orange!) On the other hand, if you don't have the time for carrot abuse and you feel a gnawing hunger for "a nice piece of fruit," try at least to humor it. When it lies to you about its age, which you know it will do, don't roll your eyes and cringe. Smile and say, "You look good enough to eat."
Finally, if you can't live without it, if you crave a kumquat, if you simply must pick a persimmon, then close your eyes and eat it quick, before your mother calls, because as sure as the sun turns grapes into raisins, one way or another, fruit will break your heart.
About the author:
Ginny Wray has had essays, humor, poetry and short stories published at Carvezine, Eyeshot, Eclectica, and nycBigCityLit with work shortly forthcoming at PoetryBay, BigBridge, LinnaeanStreet, nycBigCityLit and Creativenonfiction/ Brevity. She works (when she can get it) as an English editor, and is on the editorial board at Fictionline.com.