I love fruit. It’s hard to really think of one that I don’t like. A strawberry in its prime is a sweet and wondrous thing, a banana is lovely for its velvet creaminess and grapes make me want to sing with each bite into their plump, juicy goodness.
But an orange is my absolute favorite.
I can’t really remember how old I was when I first tried one. My grandpa would bring huge paper bags of them whenever he came to visit, but based on my mother’s fears that a baby(anyone under 5 years of age) should never be given anything too acidic, I was probably around six.
My mom had a trick back then of peeling oranges with a small knife, she tried to circle the orange with the knife without breaking the motion. If she were successful she held the finished peel up for inspection, a curly ribbon of orange and white in silhouette against the kitchen window. The smell of orange flooded the small room and she continued her work with the knife, because she held the belief that pith was bad for you if you ate it. And when that was finished the orange was cut into neat little naked sections and presented to me on a plate.
Each little piece was a restrained bite of flavor, the juice was held back somehow by those sections. What was there was loved though,and each tiny burst of juice made me hooked.
But that wasn’t my favorite way to eat an orange. I liked to take one in the garden with me when I was a little older. I peeled the orange in jagged chunks that I threw under the rose bushes. I broke the orange into segments with my hands and gleefully popped each one into my mouth. Or I never broke the orange into segments at all, I bit into the whole thing with a savage abandon and imagined it was what biting the sun would be like. There in the garden I didn’t have to worry that juice was running down my fingers onto my arms, I shook the juice off onto the grass I wiped the stickiness of my fingers off on the legs of my jeans. I could always wash up later with the hose before I went inside again. There in the sunshine and the openness of our garden I was freer then I was indoors. I was happy and I still associate oranges with happiness. That was my favorite way to eat an orange.
It still is.
This post was inspired my the RemembeRED writing prompt from the Red Dress Club. The prompt was:
“to describe your favorite fruit or vegetable: the first time you tasted it, where it came from, where you were, what memories it brings.”