Apples

Picking her apple isn’t the hardest part of her day, she’d never say that, but it’s not as easy as you’d hope. She likes her apples a certain way, as most people do: tart, and crisp. None of the floury stuff, those bites that crumble on the tongue like styrofoam on am Amazon package. That makes her feel ill, when that happens, though she’ll still finish the apple. You don’t waste apples.

Honestly, if she had a choice, it’s not what she would be eating at all. Apples might be at the front and centre of things, in dentist’s chairs and fairy tales and big cities, but they’re not the most exciting fruit. They’re not the only fruit. There are so many better ones to choose from: passion fruit, or mandarins, or grapes, or raspberries. In fact, just about all fruits are better than apples, which too often come bruised, or floury, or with those holes that you should just cut out, but which you can’t ignore. Even once you’ve cut away the brown bits, you still think, don’t you, of what touched it already. The inside of a fruit shouldn’t be like that.

Still, the best fruits are obviously the ones that can’t come with the delivery man, since he hefts big boxes of fruit and nuts and other things, and the best fruits wouldn’t be able to handle it. Those are the fruits that are more candy that fruit, the berries and the grapes. The bright soft ones that don’t need peeling, just plucking, like pick and mix from a sweet shop. Pomegranate fits that description too, but not if you have to do the cutting and the pulling apart yourself. That takes away from the sweetness, that work. Plus, you can only ever eat six seeds, just in case, just because you never know.

Even raspberries, though: the bits. Whoever came up with raspberries as a concept hadn’t thought it all the way through, making them so delicious that you want them by the handful, and then peppering them with those sharp little seeds, the ones that stick behind your teeth, and wedge into your gums. A mouthful of raspberries comes with a mouthful of blood, later.

She’s not going to complain about the apples, obviously. Free food is free food, even if it’s not what she would have chosen, so the only important thing is to make sure she’s first to the table, first to choose from the apples. Otherwise by the time she gets there, only the Granny Smiths are left, the ones with browning finger prints, and there’s something about the waxy skin of a Granny Smith that makes her want to bite her own tongue, if you want to know.

You can make an apple more like a gift, if you want to. You can do it yourself, and it’s not in the crunch like you might expect. In the movies, when they eat apples, they never cut it up first, just clenching it in a tight fish and then biting wide, but if you’ve done that you know that the skin slips up into your tooth gaps, and the juice slides down your chin, and it’s too much like work. What you have to do it cut it up, in slices, and put it on a plate, and sit down. Don’t leave it too long, because of the browning, the beginnings of rotting that happen too fast. And eat your apple piece by piece, remembering that free fruit is better than no fruit, and that some people have no fruit and that New York isn’t the Big Apple for no reason, the fruit of someone’s labour.

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