Monday, February 11, 2008

The Pomegranate Ritual

"Gram, they're in!" exclaimed Sophie to her grandmother through the car window.

"All right, all right," she said, pulling a dollar bill from her black vinyl purse. "Now you pick out a good one," she counseled her granddaughter, passing the dollar through the open window.

Sophie snatched the money from her Gram's hand and ran back up the steps into Mike's grocery store. Mike was always so nice to Sophie and gave her candy and made her laugh when she and Gram came to shop.

After studying and comparing the round fruit for several minutes, avoiding brown spots and staying away from those too small to be worthy of the ritual, Sophie chose the perfect fruit.

***

"You can only get them for a short time in winter, you know," Gram said as her soft wrinkled hands pushed her favorite butcher knife through the fruit's middle and the two halves fell apart, contrasting ivory flesh with red seeds, like good versus evil, side by side. Rich, vibrant juice formed a pool under the fruit on the white speckled countertop.

Gram wiped both sides of the knife on her apron, as she always did, and hung it back in the knife holder. The halves of the pomegranate lay face up exposing only the surface seeds, hiding the clusters that lay within.

They pulled and pushed the rubbery skin, searching for clusters of seeds. Then, peeling thin ivory skin from around each cluster, they forced the precious seeds from their flesh, letting them tumble into a turquoise bowl. The vivid juice stained their hands, Gram's hands taking the stain into a lifetime of deep crevices.

Sophie's shirt was splattered with red juice that would surely never surrender. "If your Momma sees those stains, down will come your meat house," Gram warned.

***

A lifetime later, Sophie's granddaughter rushes to her side and exclaims, "Gramma, they're in!"

"Okay, okay, honey," says the old woman pulling money from her purse.

"Pick out a good one now, honey. You can only get them for a little while in winter, you know."

1 comment:

ag said...

circle of life.. at its simplest form.. i really liked the innosense and simplicity of the expressions! good one...