At work, an artist friend occasionally stops by. She is, in oh so many ways, magnifico. In the summers, she professionally landscapes dream gardens for her loyal customers. Last week she arrived at the office with a basket in hand. “I bear fruit!” she declared.
A new fruit! From afar, I couldn’t wait to bite into the romantic, watercolored skin. And upon closer reflection, I didn’t even mind the fuzzy slug of a center nestled inside. It could be easily scooped out, discarded. But heart be still. As nature would have it, the simultaneously furry and slimy middle, riddled with seeds, is the delicacy.
I ate it. To the unconvinced applause of my coworker, I swiped a dab of it onto my finger and tasted it. It tasted like… nothing, almost. Slightly sweet. Like a yam strained through a sieve, and combined with hair gel. Every bite had a mouthful of seeds in it, waiting to be swallowed, chewed, or spit out. But that sweetness again – it lingered on the tongue like a ghost.
What I like about the akebi is how it ripens. It begins as an unassuming pod. And when it is ripe, it splits open invitingly. If only all fruits could do this, or meats in the oven. Can you imagine how much less of an ordeal Thanksgiving might be, if the turkey spread its wings voluntarily, in defeat? And if we really wanted to get metaphorical, can you imagine if we were all as telling, as open-hearted as the akebi? If we split open suddenly, to say, “I am ready”?