What Love is Like

by Rose Campion


title: What Love is Like
Author: Rose Campion
Disclaimer: No actual fruit was harmed in the production of this story. Also, these characters don't belong to me, but a kid can dream, can't she? Summary: a bonus story for the Lyric wheel, based off one of the spare poems posted by Pollyanna. Poem to follow story.


"You know, love is like a pineapple," Fox said to me one evening just before dinner. Before I could cook, we had to unpack the groceries that I'd shopped for on the way home from work. He'd just pulled the fruit in question out of a plastic bag. It wasn't my normal sort of thing to get, seeing as it's so much more efficient to get pineapple in a can if you want it, but it'd been on sale cheap and a fit of whimsy had attacked me. I'm not often given to whimsy, so I usually go for it when it does hit me. Fox was looking at it quizzically, testing one of the spiky green leaves on top with a fingertip. Then he sniffed it, and sniffed deeper when pleased with the first whiff. As far as I could tell, this was a good one, actually smelled like a pineapple, was heavy for its size and wasn't hard as a rock. It seemed like it'd be nice and ripe on the inside, though it's sometimes hard to tell with a pineapple.

"How so?" I asked, waiting for what was sure to be some pearl of wisdom or another. Or perhaps just an excuse to be sappy. When he didn't answer, and instead, hefted the weighty fruit up and down in his hand, I added, "Do you mean even if it can be spiky and somewhat uniniviting on the outside, it can really be juicy on the inside?"

"No," Fox said. He abandoned the rest of the groceries where they sat. He found a knife in the drawer, the big one. First he severed the green spikes from the gold and brown part of the fruit with one smooth motion that ended with a big thwack against the cutting board. He set the top on the counter where it sat like a minature bush or something. Then he started digging in the junk drawer, rooting through it with the same kind of zest that he attacks everything else in life with. After a while of, pardon the expression, fruitless search, Fox asked, "John, didn't we have one of those pineapple corer things?"

"I think we might have once," I said, somewhat sheepishly. As I thought about it, I could vaguely remember said object falling prey to one of my periodic cleaning and organizing schemes. I'm sure Goodwill had found it a very good home. "You'll just have to use a knife. Hey, you didn't tell me why love is like a pineapple."

Fox, bless his heart, didn't answer. He was too thoroughly engaged in slicing the pineapple into quarters the long way, revealing bright yellow fruit and causing juice to drip into little puddles on my nice, clean countertops. I started up putting away the groceries he'd abandoned and as cans found their way to cupboards and bags of vegetables to the crisper, asked, "Is it because it takes a lot of effort to get to the really good stuff?"

Not answering, Fox carefully sliced away the thick, almost armored skin away from the fruit. He didn't cut deep enough the first pass through, leaving those little brown dots that are rough and irritating if you try and eat them. He cut more away so that nothing but tender, golden flesh remained. Next, the paler core was cut away, leaving him with wedges of pineapple and juice all over everywhere.

"So, how is love like a pineapple?" I asked, not quite irritated yet. The groceries were resting in their places, and dollars to doughnuts, if I played this right and didn't let myself get upset about the counters getting messed, this might lead to something a lot more interesting than any mere dinner. Fox just smiled, as if in anticipation. He was now cutting the big wedges into slices.

"Is it because sometimes you forget how good it's going to be if you go to all that work?" I asked, starting to eye the pile of fruit Fox was making. It was looking, and smelling pretty good. Fragrant and sweet. If the knife hadn't been flashing so fast, I might have risked grabbing a piece off the cutting board. "But it is more than worth it when you make the effort."

Finally, all cutting done, Fox put down the knife and I brought it up again. "Look," I said. "You can't just make some vague pronouncement about something as big as love comparing it to a piece of fruit, and then not tell me what you mean."

Fox answered me at last, but not in the way I expected. He picked up one of the dripping slices, then, with a wicked grin that promised just about anything and possibly more, he gently bodychecked me a few feet so that I was trapped in the corner of the L-shaped counter. He held me in place with his body pressed against mine. He held the slice up a few inches over my mouth. Juice, sweet and tart, slid off the fruit, just barely hitting my open, waiting mouth. A few, but intense drops hit my tongue, the flavor spreading immediately. Even though I felt like one of those baby birds in the nest, I held my mouth open wider to receive the morsel that Fox was holding out for me. His body was warm, almost hot. The grin on his face could hardly have been any wider. His leg insinuated itself between my legs and he made a little motion with his hips that really caused me to wake up and take notice. Oh, yeah. No doubt about what Fox's intentions were right now.

The morself of fruit was placed in my mouth, a burst of sweet, but also of slight sourness, which all in all, was far more pleasing than if it had been only sugary sweet. Yeah, canned pineapple was far more efficient, but it was nothing like this. It always seemed like such a mess and pain when I thought about it at the store, but right now, I was thinking I ought to get whole pineapples more often. I chewed. The fruit was at the perfect point of ripeness, firm enough to give some resistance, but not hard. Just right. I swallowed. Fox picked up another slice of fruit, put it in his own mouth, but instead of biting some off, he pressed his face to mine, positioning the fruit at my lips. I opened my mouth, took the fruit in and tasted simultaneously the explosion of flavor that was the pineapple and the more subtle, delicate flavor of my lover's kiss. The press of Fox's lips against mine grew stronger after we both chewed and swallowed, then, for the moment at least, the fruit was forgotten as his arms came around my body.

Was love like a pineapple? The hell if I know. I was too busy at the moment to think about it. But this much I knew was true, it seemed a pretty accurate statement at the moment, even if I couldn't have explained it. But then, love is kind of like that, isn't it?


What Love Is Like
by Piet Hein ( 1905 - 1996 )

Love is like
a pineapple,
sweet and
undefinable.
 

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