Banana – a short story
A short story by Timothy Freriks © 2016
After all of this time, now I’m trash. No, sorry… I’m garbage. The newspaper I find myself uncomfortably snuggled up to—almost wrapped up in—is trash. He seems proud of that like it’s an important distinction and somehow better than being garbage. I honestly don’t know the difference, but I respect his right to think that as I try to be proud of being garbage.
The cherry tomato with whom I share this tight, dark space, seemed to agree with me, but of course, he had to identify with garbage. Inanimate objects are trash, he had said. I’m not. He was awfully wrinkled and squishy at the time—old and maybe senile—so I don’t know if I trust his perception. A little later, when I tried to get some clarification, I got no response. I’ll have to assume he has died.
That fate awaits me as well as I feel myself turning darker, inside and out. My meat is soft to the point of being called ‘mushy’, and my once beautiful yellow skin is dark brown and, in spots, black already. I have to accept that final decay is inevitable, but I’m not comfortable with it. You live, and you die, I was told by a wizened old cucumber with whom I shared the counter space. It’s unfair, he had said, but I’m supposed to be in the refrigerator. Now, that’s unfair. I should have more time. Look at me! I’m damn puckered!!
Ever since I was a bud, I pondered my destiny and my purpose. To be eaten didn’t really make any sense—I don’t eat so I couldn’t relate. As I lay here, I can almost feel the sunshine that bathed me when I was young. I remember growing, adding meat, getting stronger every day, stretching my skin, forcing it to be yellow instead of green. Slowly, I matured. I am also able to feel the breeze as my bunch-mates—my family, I called them—grew as well. We danced together when the wind blew strongly and shivered together when it was cold. There was a comradery, a wonderful sense of belonging, of sharing a goal. I can feel the ocean beyond the hill where my mother, the tree, sat, and the bright sky above us and the smell of blossoms and salty air. It was good. We were so happy. Although we didn’t understand or know what happened after the act of being eaten, we learned to look forward to it. We were young and stupid, I guess, but we came to embrace the idea that ‘eaten’ was our purpose. We stuck together even after we were cut loose from our mother.
As I come back to this dark and lonely place in which I find myself now, I wonder why the circle of life seems so good at the beginning and so bad at the end. Why isn’t happiness a reward for living a full life? Doesn’t that make more sense? To deepen my depression, I know I wasn’t eaten. I was thrown away. No matter how I try to accept that being garbage is dignified, I know it isn’t. It feels more like failure. Only the fruit flies seem to care.
I don’t smell blossoms now. What I’m smelling is starting to be awful. Is it the tomato? Or me? I have listened to the complaints from the other garbage and agree that we’ve been treated unfairly, thrown away before we achieve our destiny. The other voices have ceased, one by one, and I have to assume that their wrinkles have deepened to the point of death.
So, I wait, feeling my skin go black, and my body go mushy, and my own wrinkles deepen. What else can I do?