Originally Published in Farrago Edition Five (2022).
I really like eating apples with a knife, V says
Do you know how characters in books used to go on their travels with a handkerchief tied to a stick over their shoulder, I say.
Yes with an apple and a hunk of cheese and bread.
I always wanted to do that.
I still want to do that. Go on a little journey. Prepare food to take. An apple, stiff and red. A stick, stiff and red over my stiff shoulder. I am upright. Marching along a road. Just walking. At some point I will stop and eat. But now I am walking.
aussieapples.com.au writes that a Smitten is "an early season apple with a perfect crunch. Its firm flesh makes it more resistant to bruising. A great snack on-the-go." I concur. It is a great snack on-the-go. I am constantly on-the-go now. It is early in the season. I am on-the-go. I am so happy I can feel it crunching out of my body. Fruit juice in my pores. My firm flesh makes me resistant to bruising.
I am waiting for a bus. Eating an apple. It's really crisp. It's a good one. I'm so happy I can feel it crunching out of the body. I'm listening to Daft Punk, probably. Harder Better Faster Stronger, or something. That kind of day. When I'm done I suck my fingers clean. Unhygienic. In
the past I would have cleaned them in a subtle polite way. Never mind. I am so happy I can feel it crunching out of the body. Things are not going pear shaped. Things are so round.
On campus early. 9:15 AM. Not that early really. I am reading TIME IS THE THING A BODY MOVES THROUGH and eating an apple. I woke up with 15 minutes to dress and get my bus. I put two apples in my bag. For my travels. The skin is stuck in my teeth. I pry it out. A body is the thing an apple moves through. Apples are the thing a body moves through. Apples and time. An apple is an entire year. An entire body. An apple is an hour, ripening. A body.
I pull an apple out from my bag. Its skin is touched red. My cheeks also. The cold flowering over them It resembles nothing else. Well maybe it resembles a pear. The apple will either be very crisp or slightly grainy. Hard to tell these days.
There are four pears yellowing in the crisper drawer. We should stew them, I say. I am not going to stew them. But still we should. We ought to stew them. They are so unhappy.
I am sitting on the South Lawn feeling tired in a dour end-of-semester way. I watch an apple core next to me go brown. I count the grass flies gathering on it. Can they taste the rot? Does it taste good on their little fly tongues? Will cold heighten the flavour? Do flies have tongues?
Isolation again. On my mum's picnic blanket in my mum's garden. Wearing an op shop shirt and my mum's linen pants that she has hand sewn. Listening to PBS on the transistor my mum bought me for Christmas. Her old hat sits beside me in case it gets sunny. Her tote bag sits beside me full of things (my things). Soft fabric skin Holding all my things. All our resemblances.
There are ants crawling over the blanket. They smell the apple juice under my finger nails. Or the apple core in the garden bed next to me. My sister bought them for me. She is the only one who can leave the house right now. Open the gate and walk through it.
Listen: the apples are grainy. Soft. Ready to stew. Ready to compost into static. Time for warm syrup or worms, to help the flesh change. Dissolve. Heighten the flavour. The sugar will come out of the woodwork. The sugar will be so sweet.