Archive for cherries

crazy eights

Posted in delicious stories with tags on June 26, 2009 by thatwasdelicious

It all started with the cherries. Or perhaps it started long before, but for the sake of a story, let’s say:

It all started with the cherries.

I have been blessed with the ability to sleep soundly and deeply. Thunderstorms, emotional upheavals, anxiety may follow me through the day, but in the evening they leave me in peace. And leave me to my dreaming. Once asleep, I sleep. My body quiets its demands and let’s my mind untangle itself.

But there was something in the air that night.

I lurched out of sleep with a great and deep hunger. I had never been woken up in the middle of the night by such an intense desire to eat. The air was warm and sweet with the first heat of new summer, and I padded barefoot into the darkened kitchen. I pulled open the refrigerator door and took out a cool, blue bowl of new cherries. Under the glare of the refrigerator light the deep red of the cherries stood out starkly against the blue of the bowl, but in the darkened kitchen they lost their form and became a mass of cold, round, pebbles beneath my fingers.

I stood at the counter looking out the window over the sink. I stood in vrksasana, one leg resting against the inside of the other as I hungrily ate cherry after cherry, spitting the pits into the bowl. As the bowl grew emptier, the pits began to make a singing ping against the side of the bowl. I ate until there were no more cherries, and then, satiated I went back to sleep.

The next morning when I walked into the kitchen I saw the bowl of cherry pits on the counter and remembered with a sudden flash of heat to my belly what had pulled me out of bed the night before. There was the hunger, but before the hunger there had been a dream. I had dreamed that I was leaning over Jon. I saw him smiling in a way that made me know that he was giving over and into great happiness. And as I was peering at him, I realized that unlike in other dreams that I have had of him, I was watching, not participating in whatever the cause of joy was. I was removed, a mere spectator. And in that moment of realizing that I had become a spectator to his happiness, I felt as if a very large millstone had begun to grind. The times they were a changin’.

The next morning I wrote to Jon.

I told him about the cherries. I did not tell him about the dream.

Several weeks later I found an eight of diamonds. Eight of diamonds: Power, the power to destroy or create. Power to return from whence you came. At the time I didn’t know all that, all I knew is that every morning I woke up wondering if that day  would be the day Jon would tell me that there was someone else in his life.

We were sitting at the table, my aunt, my mother, my sister, and I when I got the email. The feeling of pending change that had been plaguing me for days suddenly had etheral life and form. Everything made sense all at once, which was too fast. Not thinking, I reached up to the thin red cord that was tied around my neck. With one sharp tug I snapped the cord and freed the tiny turquoise stone I had been wearing around my neck for the past seven months. There it was sitting in my hand–a cord the color of new chili peppers and a turquoise stone–the evidence of things broken. Claire took the stone from my hand, for safekeeping, she said, and I buried the cord in a pile of compost.

Later that evening, I pulled a bowl of cherries from the refrigerator. As I looked down into the bowl I realized what the color the cherries were: Blood, when it has been deoxygenated turns a darker, cooler red. It’s never blue, but as it returns to the heart it is the color of cherries rather than the color of chili peppers. My hands were shaking when I reached for the first cherry, but I ate down one after another, their sharp new bruise-colored juices staining my fingers and teeth. I ate until I felt my heart beat steady– the thump reminding me that the constant exchange between me and the world would continue, The Wheel would turn.
And then I woke up.

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