A pomegranate is the jewel box of nature. Nature’s jewel box.
I don’t need the internet to tell me this because a pomegranate already did.
Not my first pomegranate though. My first pomegranate was unmarked.
Being much closer to the source – the farmer – my first pomegranate had no time for a sticker explaining that pomegranates are nature’s jewel box.
Straight from harvest to produce-mart shelf, unmarked and anonymous, that’s how it was for her.
Don’t think less [or more] of me because I assign a gender to my first pomegranate.
I am only a product of everything that came before me.
And lots of things, like ships and seas, have taken on the feminine pronoun for a good reason, I’m sure. I just don’t know what that reason is.
And right now my curiosity isn’t piqued enough to stop what I’m writing and do a quick internet search.
I have greater fields to plow. Like retelling the story of my first pomegranate.
I didn’t want to buy her. My first. She was only a dollar and a quarter, but it wasn’t the money…
Well, to be honest, the dollar and a quarter were irksome. I could get ten apples for that price.
Ten apples on one side of the scale and my first pomegranate on the other.
Ten apples, one pomegranate.
Both exactly the same price. Dollar and a quarter.
I don’t remember the street name, but I know it was in LA.
Somewhere close to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Where I saw movie personalities litter Hollywood Boulevard in full costume.
For some reason the only one I can remember is a large, caped monster-type with a jail cell filling his chest cavity.
Inside the jail cell, behind fake plastic bars, Spider Man, his hands itching to break through and throw some web.
The superhero wanted out.
Somewhere close to this Hollywood mecca, I walked into a Russian produce mart. TV played from one corner. A soccer game being battled overseas.
From the big paper signs taped to the windows, I knew apples were on sale, as were pomegranates.
I had decided on apples until I remembered how far I had to walk home. Miles. I’m talking about 10+ miles, and carrying ten apples for this distance didn’t seem to be a good idea.
So, I went with the pomegranate because it was significantly lighter than ten apples.
And also to try something new.
I really had no idea what to expect.
I figured, Hey, it’s a fruit, how hard can it be to figure out.
But when I left the Russian product mart and started walking on the sidewalk, a man saw me shining my first pomegranate against my shirt, as if it were an apple.
He pointed his dirty cane at me and practically shouted from his shadowy stoop,
-Don’t bite into her! That’s not the way you’re supposed to eat her!
He did say her, automatically substituting the feminine pronoun for the pomegranate, and this makes sense seeing as he’s also a product of everything that came before, like ships and seas.
I moved closer to keep him from shouting again. Remaining inconspicuous is always high on my list of priorities.
-What am I supposed to do then?
He blinked hard behind he thick lenses. Disbelief.
-You’ve never had a pomegranate!?
-You’ve been living in a cave! Do yourself a favor and get out every now and then! Eat God’s fruit!
-That’s what I’m trying to do here. But how am I supposed to eat her?
There was no denying him my pomegranate. Clearly he needed to handle her to teach me the proper way to eat her.
After snatching her away from me, he popped off the handle of his dirty cane. A knife shimmered. More of a dagger, which he wiped clean on his pant leg.
-You have to cut her open! That’s the way you get at her jewels!
He did use the word jewels, but he didn’t explain that pomegranate was nature’s jewel box.
I just figured he was poetic and continued watching him deftly handle his dirty cane’s dagger.
-Once you open her up, you suck on these red beads! Spit out the seed! You want to eat around what seems to be the meaty part! Only gnaw the red beads! It’s counter-intuitive for apple eaters, but everything’s counter-intuitive for people who eat nothing but apples their whole life! Get out more!
I followed the old man’s advice.
I ate my first pomegranate while walking east on some sidewalk in LA.
I ate around the meaty part, snagged a couple red beads, sucked the flavonoid nectar, and spit out the seed.