by Sarah Dalton

December 4, 2017

It is a rare occasion, but I decide to eat an orange when I want to remember. I hold the fiery orb in my hand, inhale its invigorating aroma, kiss its coolness, prick the surface with a shallow bite, grimace at the bitter mixed with the sweet. The fruit exhales its aroma, released now like a genie from a bottle, intent on intoxicating the air. 

My memory unfolds, and it is inevitable: the scent of a sweet Navel orange reminds me of my first love. I see his clean, large hands, the prominent lunulas on each nail. He burrows his right thumb under the peel, smoothly, methodically following the curve of the fruit, undressing the orange in one long spiral piece which he bounces in the air before setting aside. He inserts his thumbs into the fruit and spreads open the flesh with his fingers. He eats each half one-handed, relying on his thumb to loosen a segment before slipping it into his mouth with his tongue. 

Digging into the pithy membranes, my thumb separates skin from fruit. Juice sluices down my fingers which become powder-coated and sticky as I rip small, awkward pieces of peel. I remember little about his face or his favorite clothes or our conversations, but I can see his hands as if superimposed on mine, a double exposure of fourteen years and 6,000 miles, and I hear his ambrosial baritone, as real as the fruit I somersault between my teeth, “¿Querí?”