A fruitful journey

I’m straying from my usual writing theme but since I made the rules, I get to play with them. And anyway there must be a metaphor in here.

I arrived home from a run in Scottsdale with two grapefruit. Not from the senior’s centre where they give them away for free, but off a well-hung tree I passed on route. Lest you think I stole them, there was a bag of bags hanging from the concrete fence and a sign, Help Yourself.

There was one small grapefruit on the fence. I gazed up into the tree where nothing was within reach, then looked around for a stick. Was prodding the fruit myself within the parameters of this free grapefruit offer? I noticed the perfect branch lying nearby and assumed yes. The first one I batted like a piñata fell into the yard out of reach behind the high concrete fence. (Don’t think I didn’t consider scaling it.) I went to work on a second, that clung stubbornly or perhaps unripenly to the branch. By the time I got the fucker down, after 27 attempts, my neck was stiff from staring up. But it was free. Folks out walking their dogs smiled as I ran home, one fruit in each hand.

This wasn’t the first time I’d eaten from this tree. I found it three years ago and was thrilled to see the fruit.  It made me laugh, some combination of magical, quaint and silly. Such an outlandish idea for product placement. Such a bold departure from neat stacks in the grocery store. There they were, free and flaunting themselves.

On that first visit to the tree, many more grapefruit than I could possibly carry lined the top of the fence, no swatting and stretching required. Greedy and overzealous, I helped myself to two large bags full – about 10 grapefruit.

Here’s the dilemma – I was a couple of miles from where I was staying, mid-point in my run. I’m slightly obsessive about exercise, more so then than now, and there was no way I was going to let those grapefruit get in the way of completing the run.

I started out, the seven or eight pounds banging awkwardly against my legs, and got about 75 yards when my back started to ache.  Even Olympic athletes don’t train with two grocery bags stuffed with grapefruit. I shifted the weight, clutching the fruit against my chest, and started to run again.

This time people I passed were full-on laughing as they noted my commitment to both fruit and exercise. Unashamed and straining I grunted that I was from Toronto and these were free grapefruits. Off a tree.

Secretly I’m thinking. What an idiot. All I need is to throw my back out jogging with 10 grapefruit.  But when I cut open my booty and stuffed a juicy piece in my mouth, I felt proud glee.  Some might argue with my definition of free, but I still hold to it.


Hi Aviva,
Anne Avery's friend here. Again.
You're writing from Arizona. I thought they didn't want you or your immigrant dollars there. Good on you for stealing their bounty. Seriously I have fallen in love with a small town in California, Ojai, and on my one of my walks, or runs, I regularly steal overhanging oranges and have been known to clutch those pickings to my chest, cradling them awkwardly until the kitchen counter, tear in & let that sublime free juice trickle down my chin!
the best! norma


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This is to check for spam.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.