“Seriously, what’s so great about orange?” Devon asked, with a grin.
“I know that, but why?” He kept on teasing her and enjoying every moment.
He adjusted himself on the rugged towel. “Sure. What did you bring?”
“I should have known...”
Devon held the fruit in his right hand for a few seconds before proceeding to peel it off with restless fingers. He squeezed one segment, crushed the soft pulp, and created a juicy geyser that rivaled Yellowstone’s for a brief fraction of a second.
“Don’t be like that, mom. Playing is fun whether you’re three or thirty.”
“Thanks, but where’s my real present?” he leaned over and brushed her lips.
“Okay, let me try to answer your original question,” she began. “I like orange because it reminds me of warmth, energy. I like orange because of the Autumn season, and I also like it because of the fruit, obviously. You know the name of the color comes from it, right?”
“Just hear me out for a second. Did you also know the orange is a hybrid, a cross between pomelo and mandarin? The hybridization is not something simple and linear though but the result of a process that’s been spanning multiple generations. Think about it. It looks so perfectly uniform when in fact it’s the bubbling result of a mishmash of various influences, just like us, actually.”
“Yes, us. Humankind as a whole, us in particular. We’re all oranges, by-products of history, society, good and bad interactions, desires and aspirations brought forth. We have multiple layers, some more than others, but they exist in every one of us and simplicity of appearances doesn’t always mean simplicity of facts which is why, sometimes, some layers just won’t crack open without a good amount of effort and finesse. If we try to brute force our understanding of other people, we risk doing what you did to your orange, enjoying them less than we should, less than what they deserve.”
“We’ve known each other for over twenty years now,” she continued. “We’ve seen layers of one another fall, and others replace them, we shared secrets, ideas, and hopes for the future repeatedly, but there was always something in the way, one final threshold to cross. I promised to do it on your 30th anniversary, and you promised to follow along. I’m ready to uphold that promise. Are you?”
Mouth watering, thoughts dripping softly within her voice, Devon nodded as she held the peeled orange next to his lips, an open invitation to an everlasting sweetness.
And as the sun fell upon his half-glazed stare, he came full circle, happy.