For three days I have been staring at mangoes. I’ve been doing a few other things in-between, but every day I take notice of the three green mangoes, too unripe to eat. It’s cruelty. Pure cruelty.
I could take stock of some of my favourite life moments in mangoes.
Take high school for instance. This is the stage I realized someone else could love me through mangoes. My mother came home from work one day and told me to get dressed up. We were going to the theater. Once dressed we stepped into the elevator of her condo. She told me to meet her in the lobby, and she would bring the car up from the underground. I went to the lobby and there was my friend, waiting at the buzzer for the front door. I opened it for him and told him I couldn’t go out, I was on my way out to the theater with my Mom. I turned around and there was my mother, standing behind me. “You’re going with him”, she said.
I’m feeling hard pressed to think of a better date I’ve been on. He took me to a restaurant, read me a poem and gave me a hand-made flower (hand-made by him), and the night ended with us eating juicy mangoes in his car, and us washing our hands in puddles of rain water.
Fast forward to 2006. I’m in the desert of Northern Sudan, 200 kms northeast of Khartoum. I am with three new friends; a girl and two men. One of the men is a local, and the other, a European photographer. We are going to visit ancient pyramids that are older than the famous ones in Egypt. I am standing inside an ancient structure, dumbfounded by the hieroglyphic I am not only staring at. I am touching it. It’s the real thing, only it’s not in a museum which is the only place I’ve ever seen one. There I am in the middle of the desert, sounded by nothing other than history and a sand storm swirling outside the open entrance.
We walk back to our car from the pyramids and two men with machine guns ask to see our passports. We seem to have the right ones. They let us through and I let out a breath of relief.
We spend the night in a little town on our way back to Khartoum. The next day we take a small boat across the Nile and go exploring. We meet a goat herder and our local friend begins a conversation. The goat herder leads us to a mango tree and starts depositing mangoes into a basket. He puts the basket before us and tells us we can eat as many as we like. They are the best mangoes I have ever had before, or since. They are ripe, and full of juice. I eat five, because I don’t want to seem piggish or anything.
2012, I’m here in Barbados. Three days of patience, waiting to eat mangoes that tease me every time I walk by. My cousin tells me to wrap them in newspapers to help them ripen. I wrap them and let them be overnight. Finally, the next morning, they are ripe enough to eat.
The paring knife cuts them easily. I slice chunks off the seed and cube the mango flesh. My daughter and I enjoy a juicy mango feast that does not disappoint. They are worth the wait.
I thoroughly enjoy my life in mangoes. Wherever mangoes seem to be found with me, a great memory is also sure to be.