They say I have a minute and thirty seconds to write whatever comes to mind about the object on the table in the center of the room, and from one of twenty some-odd desks forming the outer ring of the seminar, I stare furiously at a bright red apple.
The clock starts and I wax philosophical as I write about tough, crisp skin that hides tender, white flesh. I write how that skin will bruise when dropped, the flesh inside turned brown and unattractive, never to be white again. I write about how that same skin will eventually, if left alone, will rot and cease to be able to protect what lies within. I write about the rotten apple that spoils the bunch, the juices turned to vinegar and about the worms that so easily eat their way through the apple that I have herein personified as “the poor, dead creature.”
I write about the core. The seeds. The skin serving not only to protect the meat, but the seeds, and the meat to protect the seeds as well. The seeds being at the core, and the core being comprised of skeleton and seed, and symbolism. And I put myself in the core, in the fetal position and a white tuxedo, nestled gently within the cream and green of the apple's gut.
As my mind flashes and sifts through its roll-a-dex cross-referencing allusions and metaphors involved with apples I scribble something about never falling far from the tree, but if thrown hard enough with the aid of the wind planting a new tree entirely with no proper memory of origin. I write about the bark of the tree, and how it is far worse than the bite of an apple, the crisp tartness seeping through my teeth and piercing my jaw with its sweetness. I make swift and passing references to Adam and Eve, but I know that no one really knows what the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil looks like. I think it looks like a metaphor. So, I write a few more down before the clock runs out and heads look up and pencils go down and people start to speak.
And when they ask me what I've written about, I say
It is red, the color which apples of its kind are meant to be.
There are lines in its skin, stretch marks where it has grown.
Underneath a bruise, the flesh is brown and damaged, un-appealing but still as sweet.
Someday the skin will rot and develop holes, and worms will eat through the poor-dead creature. Unless, of course, someone beats the worms to it. Then the apple will be good. Not poor, not dead. Just sweet and refreshing and nourishing, provided the eater likes apples. Nourishing, at least.
Teeth will pierce the skin and reveal the sweetness inside, the tartness of skin.
And if the teeth are ravenous, they will bite through to the core and suck on the seeds.
The seeds, removed from their casing, will be worthless.
Worthless, like a white tuxedo at a funeral; a wedding for a friend.
The apple does not fall far from the tree, unless it does, in which case it will have to have help not only to fall farther than usual from said tree, but to build for itself a new tree; new progeny that will, perhaps, not be so hesitant to stay underneath the shade already provided for them.
The teeth pierce the apple, and the apple pierces the senses.
Adam and Eve.
The apple falls underneath the tree, and is sweet, and is brown where it has been bruised or exposed to the air, and is red where it still has skin. It is all of these things because it is an apple, and it is not me.
And no matter how much I put myself in the apple, I am no less myself, and the apple is no more me than it is a grapefruit, or a banana, or any other fruit that they might decide to have me write about next time.
I don't mind writing about myself,
but I think, sometimes,
that I'd much rather write
about an apple.