The Shape of Fruit

by Zareen Gesmundo

On days where all is hopeless, my mother greets me with a luxurious bowl of fruit. Its colors as vibrant as the summer. Each piece skinned and peeled to perfection. Different varieties, cut into geometric pieces. Almost as perfect as origami. I wolf down the bowl of fruit, not knowing that it’s the reason, why her hands are replete with wounds.

It’s in the bowl of watermelon tips offered by my mother, who made the best bite of everyone’s watermelon wedges. It’s in the rambutan with its prickly skin, only to reveal a soft and velvety inside. It’s in the perfectly ripe mango chunks, so smooth, you can suck them down with a straw. Naked grapes, so indulgent, it felt fit only for kings and queens. That I realized this bowl of fruit was prepared by the same woman who works day and night, whose feet are as swollen as an apple bursting with juices.

The same woman who had to give up her dreams. The same woman who gave up her own sanity. The same woman who was there to support us no matter how sick and tired she was. The same woman who sheltered us with her open arms.

My mother swallowed bitterness so we could cherish sweetness. Now when I’m greeted with a bowl of cut fruit, I’m reminded of my mother’s fragile, but diligent hands. That have worked hard to shape me into the ripe fruit, I am today.

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