The writing prompt said “Get a fresh, ripe fruit and cut it open. Breathe in the scent. Then write whatever comes to mind.”
I was excited about this one. While waiting for a table at Gochi I stopped into Oakwood Market and selected a Manila mango from the crates propped up along the sidewalk. At home, I washed the mango, cut off a segment, opened a new document, then closed my eyes and lifted the cut segment to my nose.
“Actually it doesn’t smell ripe. It smells green, like those hard pale thin slices Erik’s mom served us once after a meal, or the skinny slivers drizzled with fish sauce and pepper Lisa F liked to eat at Red Corner Asia.* I bought it because it felt ripe, yielding to the inquisitive pressure of my fingers, its firm softness a promise of sweetness and delight. But my nose doesn’t steer me wrong. Under my teeth and tongue it’s the same deceptive thing. The melting smoothness says I chose the right fruit. But the tartness and astringency tell me something has gone sadly awry. This is not a ripe mango.”
*Whoops, actually that salad was green papaya, not green mango.