selective focus photography of upright piano

Biting the Apple

I have always been a bit of an apple biter: ones with red flesh from Washington state which taste of berry more than apple for some strange reason. Envy’s with their poison apple-red skin, old fashioned granny smiths, green and tart, or woolly braeburns with dapples and rough brown spots; tropicalist Pina’s with juicy flesh that don’t taste right at all, and rising-sun-red and bamboo-green Fuji’s, the right balance of verdant and crimson, that sit beside Pink Ladies in their sweet perfection and cloying overcoats of bubblegum colors. Sometimes you get a treat, a stray Cosmic, or something equally as exotic which achieves the right balance of sweet and sharp and crispy but bitable. If I had been in the garden, I would not have lasted two minutes: I adore pomegranates almost as much as I love apples.

My vacation is taking the form of doing things I enjoy, so when I saw a perfect pear-apple, a Japanese ‘nashi’, golden and round, rough skinned and ripe for the eating, I purchased one of them, took it home and cut it into six equal pieces. They are way too expensive here in the United States. I pushed three of the slices towards the Boy, and kept three for myself. The center of the nashi is sharp and bitter, but the outer is honied and drips so much juice it needs a napkin to eat it without staining the cuffs of my favorite white oversized button-up shirt. We sat there and listened to Duke Ellington hit the keys, his band as tight as a band has ever been. They were “Reminiscing in Tempo”, circa 1935.

In a moment I was standing in Higarigaoka Park, the Duke playing his natsukashii sentimental journey, holding the hands of my two perfect babies as they tottered along eating ice creams with bear faces picked out in candy upon them, little halloween cups and spoons, giggling and resting their heads on me on the train as we meandered home. The tempo of the train wheels on the tracks, the sound of their slow sleepy breathing, the motion of three hearts in time. I bit the apple, Eve. I knew what happiness felt like for a moment, and now I have to live with the knowledge that it is gone and it won’t return. It is gone and it was and when it was it wasn’t even perfect. I still had to go home to a man that was trying to kill me, and a cupboard that was mostly empty. I knew it, and loved it and now…now….

Now there is just me and a strong boy with a strong back and strong arms that pushes the final slice of pear apple towards me, telling me that he has had enough, with a smile on his face knowing that he will get many more chances to suck the juice from life, and I am just about done.

And the band plays on. Duke Ellington knew a lot about tears it would seem. Lifting and falling, holding and moving on, and letting the notes fall into place eventually, an exercise in just about, almost, maybe then that gorgeous resolution. Even in 1935 it would appear that there was something to wistfully remember. And now? Now? With this slide into authoritarianism, with this descent into identity politics, with this walk with the flock or get the social-glock to the temple, this agree or be damned. Herd mind or please mind the gap, and realize that the train is cancelled, kaput. Done. There is no room for disagreement, and it is not a world that suits me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am far far from bowing out, I will live just to spite the motherfuckers. I will breathe just to irritate them, but I fear I am outmoded, outdated, last season’s model, a discontinued style. I fear there is not much of a plae left for me. So if you don’t mind…there is this train….it has smart blue clean seats. People are staring at my children who are neither quite This or That, and me who is none at all, and the little stuffed toy in my hands sits uselessly barking as I fail to realize that it won’t ever be ok. It won’t ever be safe. It won’t ever be truly perfect, but instead perfection will exist for me in moments and fits and spurts of life that crystalizes and gets trapped in the amber of a moment that I will never have again.

23 Comments

  1. Tanooki

    Your post made me nostalgic for Nashi!๐Ÿ˜† Yes they are so expensive in the US and even they sells it in my neighbor, they are much smaller than the one in Japan(and it can be said to apples too๐Ÿ™„๐ŸŽ)

      1. Tanooki

        Imagine rows of rows of freshly cut sashimi lining up…ahhhh that makes me wanna reserve ticket for airfare right nowโœˆ๏ธ(and immediately give up thinking about 14days quarantine and the price of the ticket๐Ÿ˜‚)

      2. Tanooki

        Haha, fresh sushi and sashimi are biiiiig wall built between vegan diet and us!!๐Ÿ˜‚ We tried vegan diet too but well…we never be the complete vegan๐Ÿคฃ

        Is your health OK after eating fish again? It’s ok that we can’t stay vegan diet as long as we don’t waste them๐Ÿ˜Œ

      3. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        I have celiac disease, so I can’t eat any gluten. Cutting out fish too left me with not enough to eat. I am much better after eating fish again. I just feel guilty. I had no enerigy, and my celiac actually got worse. I was eating vegan cheese and protein, and got so sick with celiac. Awful. I am on the mend. Yes sashimi and sushi is a big delicious wall! I love saba.

      4. Tanooki

        OMG I’m sorry to hear that๐Ÿฅบ So are you on gluten free diet? I have friends who are allergic to gluten and wow…gluten free diet availability is tooo narrow…Hope the med can help you and you find enough food that’s safe and yum to you๐Ÿ™Œ

      5. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        There is no medicine for it. All I can do is not eat gluten. I am allergic to the meds for the skin part of the disease. I am on a totally gluten free diet now – really hard to be yummy and gluten free, but my son is a really good cook and makes me nice food. I am currently no grain at all, not even rice as have been quite unwell after accidentally eating gluten. I am 100 percent gluten free, otherwise I get very bad symptoms and long term it is very dangerous. Sad, huh! No more melon pan!

      6. Tanooki

        Oh no, well it’s good your son is a good cook. My friends says it’s so hard to stay in gluten free even though we’ve started to see a lot of brands making gluten free food… haha, it’s ok you remember how tasty melon pan was! I’m only seeing concha instead of them๐Ÿคฃ

      7. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        For me the problem is more things say ‘gluten free’ and they are not really gluten free. So it is not as easy as cutting out bread and pasta. For instance, i can’t eat oats or lentils because of cross contamination. Very painful. Im sorry your friend is suffering too. Melon pan from Anderson Bakery in Shinjuku Eki! Yum! Tokyo has the best baked goods.

      8. Tanooki

        OMG really!? Well I thought as long as the package says “gluten free” it’s OK for people who are allergic to gluten…wow, but not really? That’s sucks:(

        And speaking about baked goods in Shinjuku station, do you know ใ‚‰ใฝใฃใฝ’s sweet potato pie? They are so good๐Ÿ˜

      9. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        If the packet says gluten free it is not necessarily GF, or even gluten free enough. Especially oat products. Some even plain lie if you look on the GFCO website warnings. It really does suck. They cater to dieters with weight issues not people with celiac.
        I don’t think I ever had the sweet potato pie! Im more of a ginza cosy corner or Peko chan place kinda girl! …at least when I could eat it! I also have a very soft spot for daifuku, but again can’t eat those either anymore.

      10. Tanooki

        Hmmm, too bad… well I think you’ll find different food that make your tastebuds and appetite total satisfaction๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

      11. Tanooki

        Ah the classic very yummy hiyayakko! and yes, real wasabi isn’t available(but trust me, I even had real wasabi just a couple of times๐Ÿ˜‚)

      12. Tanooki

        Haha~~~that was a huge story that made people shed tears! I’d never had an opportunity to visit there, our group back in when we’re high school students were more like go-to-disney-land-or-sea-now type…but whenever I hear about Toshimaen I wonder why I didn’t even have one single chance๐Ÿ’ซ

      13. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        I had season tickets. I used to take my babies when they were little to go cool off in their water park, and take rides, or just walk there. It was very close to walk there for me. I love Tokyo Disney Land/Sea. Sea just wins it for me. I will say goodnight to you! Please write me a note if you want to stay in touch and chat more. Thankyou again, you really made me smile so much this evening. Thank you, my tanuki friend!

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