My Forbidden Fruit

by Will Merdgen 2 years ago in cuisine

A Tale of Adventure, Whimsy, and Internalizing Frustration

My Forbidden Fruit

Junior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to do ASB. I went into the idea with high hopes. I felt like I knew I was going to get in, I was enthusiastic, I felt qualified, and I was going to be a senior, the last year I could do it in high school. I was handed the application from a friend who was an officer and threw it in my accordion folder to sit for around a month. Even though I let it ferment in the copious amounts of papers handed to me by my teachers, I still managed to be the first to turn it in.

The application was what was expected. “What have you done to make you qualified for ASB?” “What are your biggest strengths?” “What’s an issue you’d like to fix at the school?” I felt that I could predict the application. As if I had been told by a hypnotist. It was mindless standardized question to mindless standardized question, followed by another mindless standardized question. But there was one question that stuck out. Every year they put one, single joke question on the application, this year it was, “On a scale of 1-5, what do you think of cherimoyas?”

What in the hell is a cherimoya? That must be fake. It has to be like a snozzberry of Roald Dahl’s writing, right? Wrong, it’s a fruit. A real fruit that grows on trees and looks like a heart-shaped dragon egg. Originally from Central America, now grown in California, this fruit was what made this application a thousand times more difficult. I wanted to fill it out truthfully. It was a number scale, I wasn’t able to say “I don’t know.” I racked my brain for days. I went to what, began to feel like grocery store after grocery store. I would pace the produce section, hunting for this fruit. I had checked in every nook and cranny, all of the little islands made of plastic that looks like wood, all of the misted vegetable shelves, the open refrigerated sections that held boxed fruit, like grapes and strawberries. This fruit was a lie in my eyes, I was no longer a believer. I had put my head down in defeat, the fake fruit won this battle.

a cherimoya

I had gotten home one night around 8:30 PM. I had just come from a Whole Foods, looking for the forbidden fruit. I walk in from the garage and see my mother sitting on the couch with our dog. She looks at me and asked where I had been. I don’t recall exactly what else had happened that day, but I had told her about my failed mission. My mother, in a confused tone says, “I just looked it up, they sell them at PCC.” PCC, of course, the only store I hadn’t searched, and conveniently enough, the store I had just driven past. Now it is roughly 8:35 PM, PCC closes at 9:00PM. I’m getting this fruit tonight.

I get back into my car and floor it. I had never been so focused whilst I was driving. I did not have my arguably excessively loud music on, or if I did, it was not completely drowned out by the mixture of frustration and joy in my head. I was frustrated by the fact that I was using even more gas to go back to where I was just. I was enjoyed by the fact that this rabbit hole of a fetch quest was coming to a bittersweet end. This fruit made me upset again… it was $7.99 a pound. This piece of fruit I had just purchased cost me a total of $8.37. Bittersweet.

I drive home, now, in glee. This fruit is in my possession. I won this game of cat and mouse, finally. I walk into my house for the second time now, holding the fruit above my head in glory, like John Bender at the end of The Breakfast Club. “Did you get it?” my mother asked, rhetorically. I did not even answer before I was ripping a cutting board out of the cupboard to slice this fruit. It was then I realized that I had no idea how one is supposed to eat a cherimoya. So, I googled it. I began to read articles and blogs and watch videos, written and made by foodies and “connoisseurs,” with most telling me that I needed to cut it in half, and then just spooning it out after.

I sliced it in half, spoon ready to scoop on the counter, next to the cutting board. I had never been so excited for a fruit in my life. It was time. I go to scoop, but it’s firm, like flexed muscle. The disappointment began to wash over me. I was embarrassed with myself. I had purchased an unripe cherimoya. I didn’t know what to do. It was described as having a “tropical flavor” by the foodies... it tasted like almonds. Goddamn it...

I decided to toss the half I had attempted to scoop out into the garbage, while I wrapped the other side in saran wrap, to see if it would even possibly ripen. To my avail, I was correct, from between what was roughly 9:09 PM to 9:53 AM, the next morning, my wrapped half of a cherimoya had ripened. It wasn’t peak ripeness, but it had the “tropical flavor” the foodies had told me about. The once-forbidden fruit tasted like, if you mixed pineapple and papaya and mango into one pudding textured spoonful. It was a rush of feelings again. The joy and the rage resurfaced, now with a side of sighs. Sighing due to the fact that it sat out on the counter all night, it had no moisture in it. My cherimoya went dry, flavorful, but dry. I got to taste it, though, it was a very personal victory.

With my triumph, I find my ASB application and flip through the stapled pages to the cherimoya question. I grabbed a pen and confidently scribed in the number “5” with a feeling of completion and purpose.

Now, there is no moral to this story. There was no hidden theme, or subliminal messaging, nor did I even make it into ASB, so I guess, not even a happy ending. I simply told you the bittersweet tale of emotional turmoil all caused by one thing, my forbidden fruit.

Will Merdgen
Will Merdgen
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