©2009 Anne Trapp Younger
On Sunday morning, I was peeling a cantaloupe for my mother.
It was very ripe and warm from sitting in my car, so the fragrance rose from it like the perfume of warm flesh. It had an earthy, sweet, and slightly musky smell. Muskmelon, dark and faintly sexy. The scent suddenly transported me back. I was seventeen, summer in Yuma, Arizona. I had my first real boyfriend. Secrets in the darkness by the pool, cicadas buzzing in the pecan trees. That taste of melon, juicy and warm.
As I peeled this melon for my mother, I was tempted to taste it. But I can't. I know the taste would be dangerous. Forbidden fruit. I developed an allergy to melon, my throat closes, I can't breathe.
After my husband died, I came to take care of my mother. I peel melons for her, she loves melons. "Aren't you having any?" she asks.
"No, thanks, Mom. I can't," I say.
"Well you don't know what's good," she says.
No more melon for me, no more secrets in the darkness.