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A Life in Fruit

Part 1

Even as I knew this plant’s growth would take over my land, I couldn’t afford another year lost. Would dad prefer a land that is bare to one that is bearing fruit? Something that’s profitable and somewhat sustainable. A fruit that doesn’t require much gas to run the machines since the plants have a near self-maintenance capability. I’m really just there to water as needed and monitor when to harvest. Plus it’s such a conversation piece, every time I mention my grove I hear how it’s the ‘go-to’ fruit for headaches. So now I reduce my headache with a field that yields a crop. 

When I first brought the fruit to the farmers market, the head of the market asked if I needed a bigger tent. I told him that wasn’t necessary since I planned to make trips back to my truck. My process is to keep a tally during those trips and maybe squeeze in an extra crate or two near the back of the tent. But it’s a delicate balance since having too many together in the tent attracts ants. But it’s the price I pay to selling the sought out sweet juice. 

Maybe half would be easier to sell at a time? As recently customers appear to spend money as simply an afternoon away from the couch. I admit I fluctuate the price depending on the demographic as here they sell eggs at top shelf price, so I follow suit. But most of the consistent customers here are encouraging their well manicured kids to eat balanced, so when those small glossy eyes register the iconic shape while their parents sink their teeth into the meat, it’s a guaranteed sale. 

Maybe I should give an option for purchasing only half, to customers who aren’t family sized and simply want something to snack on during some binge worthy series. Or I should sell half as a solution for the morning-after, as it’s been told to me it’s a cure to some hangovers. I can’t confirm this fact as I avoid getting hooked on my own harvest.

The samples are hard to prepare but sometimes if a long weekend is coming up, I’ll bring one of the men from the fields to join me. He can slice one in half from a single motion making nearly no noise whereby to customers passing the tent, the silence is filled with the spray of juice and pieces of meat trickling off onto the table. It’s both artistic and catches the eye for a quick sell. I sell the pieces in a cup for a hefty price to end the day with a profit- to tip the help from a would-be afternoon with the family. It looks like it’s working as a woman is coming up with nearly no fruit.

“Do you want half or whole?” There’s no way she wants a whole one.

“I’ll take a whole one.” I smile with embarrassment and give her a good price.

Sure, when I was growing up I didn’t think one day I would be harvesting pineapples but the truth is no one knows what they’ll be doing at what point in their life. Most people are like the fruit, adaptable to the region. I’m very lucky to have stumbled on a guru of the trade when I went another year in the red, helping me change course and dodge the disapproval of my father. To have a grove that can maintain my stay in the sunny home I grew up in, paying the employee’s and the taxes, one slice at a time.

~~~

Part 2

I really should stop partying and focus on something else during my evenings. But what else would I do? Sit at home and count how many episodes- on whatever season- of whatever show I am on. To rewatch and anticipate to nearly perfect timing the delivery of witty comments. I do that enough over dinner with date number, oh god, let’s not think about that number. Fuck, I’m still dehydrated from the tenderloin. I hate ordering tenderloin, it’s one of those items that remind the date how I love meat in my mouth encouraging some lude comments. At least that’s how my recent dates have been going, the ones who have yet to figure out what it takes to land a third (most crucial) date. 

I should buy a centerpiece fruit, something that says, “she was not out late last night, it was a Thursday, how many women do you know with her caliber can go out on a Thursday?” I need a piece of fruit to speak on my behalf of all my good intentions. Something that evokes pictures of perfection. Nothing complicated like a pomegranate or symbolic to boozy brunches like the avocado, something that says, I am here to put together your life. I am strong, brave and can defend myself.

My bag looks too empty, everyone else at this farmers market has their never-limp chard or heirloom carrots. I have a few pink ladies, blood oranges and a jar of honey. One date told me how putting a spoon of honey in whiskey is the new craze, although it sounds like a cop out for those who can’t stand the strength of a good pour. Who buys eggs at a farmers market? Like how much better can they be? It’s not like we see the chickens to inspect their well manicured feet. That’s just a little over the top even for the Westside.

Mom is coming to visit during the long weekend. So I should probably buy something that’s going to keep her busy or at least something to cover her wondering eyes while she hyper analyzes my kitchen space. A kitchen to her that is lacking a proper pitcher, lazy susan tray and decorative charger but is fully stocked with mugs, bowls and spoons- I can never have too many spoons. She likes things sweet, so maybe we can blend it into a drink? Maybe if I have to find something that screams mom.

Honestly, I hate how things are going right now. I have a dumb job but with great pay, which sounds ideal but offers nothing intrinsic to my life. How many times do people say, ‘wow, that living room is so amazing, I am so impressed by the way that curtain goes with that rug.’ That never happens and it’s still the client’s choice. I simply give options surrounding their taste. I should have options, ones that are laid out like potential coffee table pairings and I simply listen to their height, width and depth. To chose one and bring home, one that is ripe and ready to be presented on my countertop. I also want that weight in my hands, to feel the pressure on the crook when I take it out of the bag. 

“Do you want half or whole?”

“I’ll take a whole one,” I say while placing the pineapple in my tote bag.

This piece is full of life in its juices and will keep questions to a minimum. A fruit to bring home and have ripen over the next few days. To leave out for potential mates and I to savor in its picturesque. Until the long weekend when mom comes to visit and is fully prepared to slice the both of us- open. 

 

 

Trista Hurley-Waxali just finished a stint living in LA for 6 years and is looking forward to her next adventure. She has performed at Avenue 50, Stories Bookstore and internationally at O’bheal in Ireland and for Helsinki Poetry Connection. She writes weird short stories and is working on her novel, At This Juncture.