The fruit eater

I am a fruit predator. Like a vulture I will take fallen fruit from under the tree, eat the unbruised top. The pink guava tough with the slight crunch of seeds and the earthy flavor, I hollow out like a pumpkin, running the spoon that I carry with me always across its innards again and again for the last shavings of taste. Later, a giant green-skinned guava with dimples. Liliikoi or passionfruit spurts from its yellow egg when stabbed, pulp of tart juice and crunchy seeds. I leave nothing but the rind.

A fruit junkie, and South Kona Fruit Stand my pusherman. My palm hides a cloth bag that folds so small that no one will know. The vendor smiles and tells me what’s good. A rose apple tastes of a fine lady’s rosewater, hollow and dry but redolent. Apple bananas, chewy and tart, masquerade as common chico bananas. For now, in a seeming gesture of restraint, I leave the guanabana or soursop lying prickly and obese in its cushioned basket. But I will be back.

A fruit stalker. Abiu or vanilla pudding fruit scooped out in quivering spoonfuls, revealing two obscene seeds, smooth and jellied gray ellipses. The monstrous Jenette mango is devoured in an upscale shop; I take the knife from my purse and slice as the customers and shopkeeper look sidewise. I slurp the wet flesh and give prim looks to all, orange gore drying on my face. The pirie mango is small and flawless, consumed in private, kneeling on a shadowed curb, and the ear of Hawaiian corn so sweet and tender is eaten raw, in bed, with the television on.

A fruit gambler. An orange papaya yields a caviar of slimy black seeds. The Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative lures me with rows of sample jars containing bits of kumquat, nubile fig quarters, chickenskinned lychee, and a tough-skinned bulb that tastes of tomato and spurts red jeweled seeds. I go all in on a smoothie. Then a bag of jaboticabas, sour Brazilian grapes with spitting seeds. A single acerola, tiny dimpled red cherry with a bitter taste and the vitamin equivalent of six oranges. Every loss is a win, every win a victory.

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