Contemplates His Mortality
I had grown completely into my peel when I first felt human touch. It was slightly painful to be ripped from the umbilical that was my branch, but I was raised to be used. All my brothers and sisters were ready, too. It was time to seize the moment and get squeezed!
When we were all detached, we were shipped in a box. I’m not sure where, but I knew that this was the place where we would get chosen. I made sure to really plump myself up for game-time choosing. Everything I’d anticipated was going to come to fruition at any moment and all I had to do was wait.
My whole life has been full of evaluations, so I’m well aware of my perceived sensations from Homo sapiens. I feel when humans approach and I know when it’s time to go, so even when I remained in a cluster of others like myself, I knew what the approach felt like. I was accustomed to the tossing and shuffling, but I knew it was my time to be made. Shortly after I was uncovered, I became the diamond in the rough, the needle in the haystack, the sole lime to be brought back home.
The usual technique for my kind is to be sliced and squeezed into a tasty cuisine or beverage. You’re never really sure until you get to the cutting board and, even then, the future’s a mystery. With firm, grasping digits and a knife around my circumference, a slice down the middle usually does the trick.
I laid there in two halves for quite a while, as if my user was distracted by other obligations. What is my purpose now as a half? Was this what everyone I’ve ever known fought so hard to become? I pondered a while as I laid in two.
I was thankful for every moment that led to my big squeeze as I anticipated the final hoorah. I sensed the approach and suddenly, I felt further from where I was. I started to notice what being half meant as I was risen from my spot. I had never traveled upward before; I’ve only ever let gravity take its course. I imagined myself being placed back on the tree until this half of me was more prepared, but my environment suddenly chilled and I was placed inside a much colder box than before. I was only half of myself, so maybe I wasn’t fully aware of my perceptions any longer. Waiting was the hard part.
I’ve always been able to sense time based upon my growth, but now I’m able to sense elapsed moments based upon my shrivel. The cold has been bearable, but the darkness is what makes me wonder – was my other half more delectable? Why would I try so hard to become the largest of all if I’d only ever be recognized for half of my life’s accomplishments?
Sometimes, the sun rises. It’s not like anything I’ve ever known before. There are unpredictable, rapid flashes of light every time I’m on the brink of browning. I don’t know how long it’s been since I was sliced. I don’t know how long it’ll be until I crisp. I wonder why there are strange smelling substances in cartons surrounding me. Where are the others? How much longer will I stay here? What will I be if not to be used? What have I done all along to be cusping pulp-less existence? Half of my life, so quickly, became harder than that of my earliest months of life.
It’s harder to believe once becoming a fraction of self. The lingering feeling of hope is what strings me along through the intermittent light in my cold, dark world. It felt right to think ahead and plan for my duties all along, but I reflect upon every moment that led up to my squeeze-less existence and dread my history. Why would I spend life thinking about the unpredictable? How come I was given the power to set unrealistic expectations for my life if I have no way to control them myself? What do my thoughts and feelings mean if they’ll only leave me with dissatisfaction, fear, and disappointment? Can I differentiate between my hopes and my reality? Will I grow to believe something new?
I am going to disappear from here and no one will notice. Everyone I’ve known has either been used or has died, too. If this is all we live for, then Godspeed, my limes.
Carolyn Langer is a third-year clinical health studies major who is writing their thesis on the concerns of citrus fruits. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art by Contributing Artist/Author Carolyn Langer.