It was strange, as if she came out of nowhere. You have never met them, have never even heard of them, they’ve been on this planet for years without you having any knowledge of them. And then, they are there. As bright as the sun. An unfamiliar taste so exquisite and rare it is almost too much; like a flower in bloom suffocating you with its bittersweet fragrance. How could you have done without them for so long?
He looked at her, secretly glancing sideways, while she was peeling an orange. She wasn’t very good at it; cutting the peel too think, removing all the vitamines that live under the skin as his grandfather says. The old man had taught him to use knives at a very young age. Not just for peeling fruit, but carving little dolls out of left over wood and even killing chickens at the farm and skinning the small animals that they hunted. Nothing got wasted though, his grandfather saw to that. How different from his father, who couldn’t stand the sight of blood and only ate processed food wrapped in plastic from the supermarket. He sometimes wondered what happened. His father had grown up on the farm, surely he done the same things as a young boy, hearing similar lessons from his father. It was hard to imagine his father as a child anyway, it seemed he had been an old man all his life, recalling the yellowed photos in the photo album his dead grandmother once showed him. Pictures of his dapper grandfather with his sons: his energetic uncle, almost grownup and then the small boy with hunched shoulders and translucent skin, his father.
The girl was very focused on her task and didn’t seem to realize he was watching her. She was actually a little clumsy, but he resisted the urge to offer to do it for her, because it made her charming. He looked at her hands, small fingers with short nails, nicely clipped. He wondered if she use to bite her nails and how much of an effort it had taken to stop that unattractive habit. ‘Do you want a piece?’, she asked with that sweet singsong voice of hers, with only the slightest of accent giving away the fact that she was born on a different continent. But when you looked at her closely, at what he was doing for the past ten minutes, you would think she was born in different century. It was the cliche of the bible and all other tempting, alluring women in history. One bite from that orange and he would be lost forever. Even though he knew better. Even though he was only 22 years old. He had seen enough heartbreak to know that taking the bait was a bad thing to do. He knew his father had loved his mother and her death had taken all the joy from him, as if he was perpetually short of breath. He wondered if it had been worth it, falling in love as a way to escape the life he had before. Running into the soft arms of the woman with the gentle green eyes; the eyes he only knew from photographs and from looking into his own image in the mirror.