Ripe by Jennifer Fox
We met by the avocadoes in Whole Foods. I watched with amusement as he picked one up, gave it a sniff, knocked on it gently, then tried again with another. He repeated this a few times before noticing me, then flashed a smile that felt like stolen kisses beneath the bleachers in high school and admitted he had no idea what he was doing.
I explained that it all depended on when you planned to eat it. Green avocadoes need a few days to ripen. If you want it now, pick a brown one with the nub still in place. It should give a little when you squeeze.
We took our avocados, mine green and his brown, back to my place and he showed me that he understood my produce lesson by the way he took my breasts in his hands.
I opened a bottle of cabernet after and we talked through the night, stealing sips of wine and each other between stories.
He talked of summers spent at his grandfather’s lake house in upstate New York and how he and his brother would steal grapes from the vineyard up the road. They loved the way the grapes burst between their toes as they stomped them into “wine,” though neither were brave enough to taste it.
In the morning, he kissed me with wine-stained lips and told me he’d call later, then slipped out the door without his avocado.
Days passed without a phone call and our avocadoes remained on the counter. Mine was now a nice shade of brown. I squeezed it gently and it gave a little. Perfectly ripe. If I sliced into it, it’d be a brilliant shade of green, just like his eyes. His avocado was black and shriveled beside mine. Its insides had liquified beneath the skin.
I tossed them in the trash. Both were spoiled.
Jennifer Fox is a western New York native with an MFA from Lindenwood University. She is a staff reader for Bandit Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Metaworker, Across the Margin, The Daily Drunk Mag, The Write Launch, Sledgehammer Lit, Ghost Parachute, and more.