Friday, March 27, 2009
Jesse Lee Kercheval
To be here is to be where fruit you have never seen before grows on equally strange trees. The fruit is not, as you first thought, oranges, though it is orange in color. Nor is it a tangerine or some strangely colored apple. Then you see it in the market, each soft fruit cradled in its own nest of woven plastic. Cachi, the sign reads, 200 lire. You hold out a palm of silver, and let the cashier pick warm coins from your waiting hand. Then she wraps your cachi in white paper like a present, which you carry to your hotel, hoping cachi can be safely eaten raw.
In your room, you slice it open, lift the cachi to your lips and find it sweeter than any fruit you've ever tasted, half watermelon, half pressed roses. Only when you've finished, do you think to look up cachi in your pocket Italian dictionary which says it means persimmon. And you remember as a child picking a persimmon at a friend's house, then leaving it all afternoon in your mother's stand-up freezer. Still, when you bit the unripe fruit, your mouth drew up in a pucker from which you—silent person that you are—never did recover. Until today in Sacile when you took a bite of strange fruit.
Now, who knows? You may speak in tongues.