30 Nov

Originally Written June 8, 2004

Looking into the Dixie© plastic container filled with small neat chunks of cantaloupe my roommate prepared, I try to remember why it is that I don’t like chopped pieces of fruit. There’s something that feels right when you peal a banana with your own hands, or even stuffing your face with slices of watermelon rather than cut pieces. Suddenly a flashback to downtown Tepic, in Mexico. The vendors around lunchtime would come out with sandwiches, tacos, but there was always an overabundance of fruit sellers. You could buy oranges, apples, kiwis, sweesops, nanchis as a dessert, even make it your whole meal, or least something to tie you over while you shopped for new shoes. Always two types of fruit, one in slices or whole, and one chopped up in translucent plastic cups.

The fruits in cups were flavored with salt, lemon, and chili powder. It was a deeper taste than that of the fruit itself, more grown up. You ate the squares of fruit with a toothpick so you wouldn’t get any chili on your hands, maybe to not risk pain and embarrassment if it were to contaminate your eye. Ah, but it lacked the excitement of biting into a slice of large fruit. Watermelon & cantaloupe were always in large slices that you’d hold with pink square napkins. As you bit into the fruit small squirts of juice would trickle down your chin and hand and, if you were like me, you’d lick your hand savoring each sweet drop.

Now, I stare at these chucks of cantaloupe. Where is the excitement of making sure you don’t drip juice on the ground? Where is the freshness felt around your lips as you wrap them around a slice of fresh, cool fruit? It doesn’t taste as sweet when it fits neatly into your mouth. It doesn’t even have the flavoring of lemon, salt, and chili powder.

My childhood might be gone, Mexico but a distant memory, but hell, I can still eat fruit any way I like. Tomorrow morning I’m going to go to the store, buy myself a new cantaloupe, cut it into large slices, and wraps my lips around it’s cold, sweet flesh. As small as it might be, it’ll be something to make me smile.

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