Friday, July 19, 2013


Flash fiction

She knew this was supposed to be like eating summer cherries, fleeting but sweet, the hard pits something to roll around in her mouth until all that remained were small bitter shreds of flesh, like the hole in the gums when a molar comes out. It was supposed to be sweet like that, pregnant with its own nostalgia. 

It wasn't terrible, torturous, or an aching grief. But instead of sweet cherries, it was the cherries you buy from the supermarket because they are plump and taut, a deep ripe red, and you buy lots of them because it is mid-summer, and these prices won't last, and you remove them from their ziplocked plastic bag and wash them in a colander because then they look like a feast. But when you finally try one, they are neutral. The texture is right, but somehow modern living has chlorinated out the sweetness.

You roll the cherry against the edge of your teeth, stripping the flesh free of the pit, because maybe, if you eat a whole mouthful, you can conjure the flavor. But no, just cherry-textured neutral. Not sour enough or overripe enough to return to the store. Any romance in the fruit has been lost as a thin film over the asphalt that stretches from the orchards in Washington to the air-conditioned interior habitats of summer in the desert.

So you are left with a pit, shreds of cherry in your teeth, and a colander load of subtle disappointment. 

That's how it was for her. It didn't sour her or leave her hardened. Just fed, in the least satisfying kind of way.

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