This moment I am eating grapes. Sour fat green ones that seem to huddle together for protection from something – me. I imagine them cringing and shrinking away into raisins from my searching fingertips in the bag.
I grab one. It’s fat, green, and afraid as I pull it from the arms of its family. Cold and glistening with water droplets that quiver from something I don’t recognize, but I recognize delicious.
The grape feels cold between my lips as I put it in my mouth and BITE.
What is that? Eyes closed and glimpses of lights flashing as tart becomes–sour–becomes near painful. Little grape weren’t going down without a fight.
A fight I’m always ready for, so I grab his partner. She’s the one crying right next to the hole where he came from. Just as refrigerator-cold but more stubborn I think. She brought mother’s arm with her, clinging to the last. I pull the woody bit away from her hands and she painfully, grudgingly gives up her purchase. Into my mouth she goes and WHOOSH. The sour burst she learned from her litter mate.
I wonder if grapes are all like this or I got the only ones who could think and tell me how they feel. Then my mind wanders to berries and all summer’s floral bounty. Is it all a farce? They all know. They feel pain, they want things and know things and hope. They hope. Dear god of it all… here I sit with a refrigerator full of them. All colors from the deepest reds, to pretty greens, heavy, gravid summer squash and melons and the kale, oh the gaudy kale. From the kohlrabi to humble broccoli. His fancy italian cousin broccolini with his jaunty hat and his sophistication. They all know. I’m coming for them.
How must it feel to be relegated to this fate? At least the fauna have legs or wings or hooves and a chance…. a chance of evading, eluding me. The plants just sit and cringe and wait for my clumsy, fumbling fingers to seek them out. Perhaps each time hoping – praying?–that theirs isn’t the firm, wet, nourishing body I pick from the crowd.
The horrors. Blanched. Pickled. Stir-fried. Creams, soups, garnishes. Our mothers happily and self righteously feeding them to their children like the children are kings and queens. Somehow our children matter but the plants don’t. They aren’t kings and queens. These crispy leafy serfs suffer on in silence and in salad.
Or maybe they don’t.
Another grape lets me know what it thinks of me.