Art / Commentary / criticism / discussion / Essay / Literature / Photography / Sensuality / Uncategorized / Washington Post

(Non)Apologia.

But like a figure in a TV makeover show, it was an apple that its handlers could not leave alone. They altered its shape. They made it firmer and more juicy. They made it so it could be stored in hermetically sealed warehouses for 12 months. Along the way, they changed its color and hence its name—to Red Delicious.                                             ~Adrian Higgins, Washington Post Staff Writer, August 5, 2005

Red delicious 2

Red Delicious 1. Photograph by Jenith Charpentier. 2017.

One at a time, I lay each shiny, oblong Red Delicious (Warmun) on the wide-grain cutting board and slice through the core. I have no intention of eating. I make a small galaxy, use the knife tip to dislodge seeds, reveal star cradles. I choose not to reduce oxygen diffusion (McLandsborough). I let them brown; leave sugar and syrup in the pantry where they belong.  A rotten apple spoils the barrel. I do not yet know if I am the barrel.

*

Did Eve apologize for offering the apple?  I never believed she was a temptress. She was a woman. Real or imagined, a woman. Sometimes the apple is gold, sometimes red. Does color matter to anyone? She held the apple out, she didn’t make him take it, or force the apple into his hand. Who wrote this story? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

*

Fall is for apple picking. Galas, Macouns, Braeburns, Galas, Winter Banana. The list goes on. McIntosh is my least favorite. They bruise easy, and the flesh is too soft. I like them for baking: apple crisp, apple brown Betty, apple sauce. I don’t remember the taste of Red Delicious, but it isn’t the same (Higgins). I mix them with other varieties, encounter both sweet and tart. When I think back on youth I am not sure what I favored, but Red Delicious, standing upright on its lobes, bright and shiny—surely, the apple of my eye.

Adam_et_Eve_-_Gustave_Courtois

Adam et Eve. Gustave Courtois (1852-1923). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Besançon. Wikimedia Commons.

Maybe I am Eve. Eve is the onset. It is before. Eve preceeds. I came before something too: before my sister, before my younger cousins. I was born before a winter’s end, the night of a new moon. I came out screaming.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but not really. The doctor never goes away. I am still screaming.

*

What if the apple-side kissing her palm concealed an unknown scab or fire-blight and she didn’t know? Prophetic? Is it possible to consume two hundred apples at once including the seeds? Will the cyanide be enough then? (Chaussee) Malus domestica: apple tree; bad tree; bad housekeeper. Your name represents you. Eve is a name.

Red Delicious 1

Red Delicious 2. Photograph by Jenith Charpentier. 2017.

Adam and Eve needed the apple and all its parts. How else would we come to be if the story is true? They needed flesh and seeds, skin and core. Calyx and stem. The leaves…unnecessary. There is no shame in the body. Don’t upset the apple cart.

*

Eve is a damp floor, wet with after-shower footprints. The mine and yours. I am not wiping them up. Do you think Eve cleaned up after Adam? I am not here to polish the apple.

Works Cited

Chaussee, Jennifer. “Here’s How Many Apple Cores It Would Take to Poison You.” Wired. Science column. 9 Sept 2016. Web. 2 June 2017.

Higgins, Adrian. “Why the Red Delicious is No Longer.” Washington Post. 5 Aug 2005. Web 2 June 2017.

McLandsborough, Lynne. “Why do apple slices turn brown after being cut?” Scientific American, a division of Nature American, Inc. July 30, 2007. Web. 2 June 2017.

Warmun, Michele. “Apple Fruit Shapes.” From Hendrick’s Systematic Pomology, (1924). Extension,a Part of the Cooperative Extension System. 29 May 2012. Web. 2 June 2017.

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