Posted in Creative Writing

Strange Fruit

The boy turned up on her sofa one afternoon while she was out picking grapefruits. It wasn’t Ivy’s grapefruit tree. Her neighbor had prolific fruit trees which smelled of tequila and ceviche and which made her dizzy, because of her allergies. Ivy was driven by intoxication to pick the low-hanging grapefruit, which dipped over the red wooden back fence and into her yard. Not that her yard was barren: she had cultivated a beautiful garden of cacti and stones. A “desert landscape,” the magazines called it.
It was in this state of parched drunkenness that Ivy climbed down her staircase — catching a splinter in her bare foot from the worn wood on the way down — and limped out into the rocky terrain of her garden. She was accustomed to walking barefoot on the warm stones that covered the ground. A nice kind of massage, she thought. And she massaged her feet all the way to the back of the yard where the red fence stood, wincing whenever she stepped on the splintered part of her heel.
The neighbor’s grapefruits were forever plopping into her garden. They lived there unnoticed for weeks before she came upon one on the ground and was forced to clean up the unpleasant mix of rot and flies. Ivy had taken to picking the fruit in hopes of avoiding that sorry situation. But, like when she vowed to wear sunscreen every day before going out, or when she promised to visit her parents at their beach house once a month, her best-laid plans often went awry.
On the day the boy appeared, Ivy picked two pieces of fruit. One she would eat this afternoon, with sugar. The other she would save for later when she would cut up a steak and sautee it in the grapefruit’s juice and a little soy sauce. Little clusters of pleasure in her brain were lighting up at the thought when she returned into the house through the back door. She went to cut the bigger piece of fruit in half, anticipating: Tequila. Salt. It smelled like dinner on the beach in Cozumel.
“Mmm mmm mmm,” she said to no one as she grabbed a plate and a spoon and limped into the living room to flip on the TV.
And so she saw him.